Effects of short-term step aerobics exercise on bone metabolism and functional fitness in postmenopausal women with low bone mass

Osteoporos Int. 2017 Feb;28(2):539-547. doi: 10.1007/s00198-016-3759-4. Epub 2016 Sep 9.


Measurement of bone turnover markers is an alternative way to determine the effects of exercise on bone health. A 10-week group-based step aerobics exercise significantly improved functional fitness in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, and showed a positive trend in reducing resorption activity via bone turnover markers.

Introduction: The major goal of this study was to determine the effects of short-term group-based step aerobics (GBSA) exercise on the bone metabolism, bone mineral density (BMD), and functional fitness of postmenopausal women (PMW) with low bone mass.

Methods: Forty-eight PMW (aged 58.2 ± 3.5 years) with low bone mass (lumbar spine BMD T-score of -2.00 ± 0.67) were recruited and randomly assigned to an exercise group (EG) or to a control group (CG). Participants from the EG attended a progressive 10-week GBSA exercise at an intensity of 75-85 % of heart rate reserve, 90 min per session, and three sessions per week. Serum bone metabolic markers (C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen [CTX] and osteocalcin), BMD, and functional fitness components were measured before and after the training program. Mixed-models repeated measures method was used to compare differences between the groups (α = 0.05).

Results: After the 10-week intervention period, there was no significant exercise program by time interaction for CTX; however, the percent change for CTX was significantly different between the groups (EG = -13.1 ± 24.4 % vs. CG = 11.0 ± 51.5 %, P < 0.05). While there was no significant change of osteocalcin in both groups. As expected, there was no significant change of BMD in both groups. In addition, the functional fitness components in the EG were significantly improved, as demonstrated by substantial enhancement in both lower- and upper-limb muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The current short-term GBSA exercise benefited to bone metabolism and general health by significantly reduced bone resorption activity and improved functional fitness in PMW with low bone mass. This suggested GBSA could be adopted as a form of group-based exercise for senior community.

Keywords: Bone turnover markers; Group-based exercise; Menopause; Osteopenia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / blood
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / physiopathology
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / rehabilitation*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / rehabilitation
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids