Objective: To determine the effects of a simple exercise program on the balance and strength of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Methods: This program was based on low intensity strength and balance exercises, and was carried out with simple, readily available equipment. Sixty five women were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (EG; n=33, age: 57.4±4.8 years) or the control group (CG; n=32, age: 58.8±4.5 years). Participants in the EG underwent balance and strength training for 60 min, three times/week for 6 months. Each session consisted of warm-up exercises (10 min), balance training (20 min), strength training (20 min), and cooldown (10 min). Participants from the CG were asked not to modify their usual habits during the course of the study. Static balance was evaluated using the blind monopodal stance static balance test. In contrast, dynamic balance was assessed using the "8-foot up and go" test, whereas the strength of the upper and lower limbs was measured using the "arm curl" and "30 s chair stand" tests, respectively. All these variables were assessed at baseline and upon program completion.
Results: The EG showed significant improvements (P<0.001) in static balance (21%), dynamic balance (36%), and in the strength of the upper (80%) and lower (47%) limbs in comparison to the CG after the sixth month. Participants in the CG showed significantly lower values (P<0.001) in the four tests. In addition, a significant inverse relationship between static balance and the strength of the upper (r=-0.390; P=0.001) and lower (r=-0.317; P=0.01) limbs was found.
Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that a physical exercise program based on balance and strength exercises, carried out with simple and readily available equipment, is capable of significantly improving the strength and balance of women with osteoporosis.
Keywords: aging; fracture prevention; fracture risk; osteoporotic fracture; postmenopausal women; training.