Effects of a resistance and balance exercise programme on physical fitness, health-related quality of life and fear of falling in older women with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture: a randomized controlled trial

Osteoporos Int. 2020 Jun;31(6):1069-1078. doi: 10.1007/s00198-019-05256-4. Epub 2020 Jan 10.


Exercise is recommended for people with osteoporosis, but the effect for people who have suffered vertebral fracture is uncertain. This study shows that a multicomponent exercise-program based on recommendations for people with osteoporosis improved muscle strength, balance, and fear of falling in older women with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture.

Introduction: Guidelines for exercise strongly recommend that older adults with osteoporosis or osteoporotic vertebral fracture should engage in a multicomponent exercise programme that includes resistance training in combination with balance training. Prior research is scarce and shows inconsistent findings. This study examines whether current exercise guidelines for osteoporosis, when applied to individuals with vertebral fractures, can improve health outcomes.

Methods: This single blinded randomized controlled trial included 149 older women diagnosed with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture, 65+ years. The intervention group performed a 12-week multicomponent exercise programme, the control group received usual care. Primary outcome was habitual walking speed, secondary outcomes were physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test, Functional Reach and Four Square Step Test), health-related quality of life and fear of falling. Descriptive data was reported as mean (standard deviation) and count (percent). Data were analyzed following intention to treat principle and per protocol. Between-group differences were assessed using linear regression models (ANCOVA analysis).

Results: No statistically significant difference between the groups were found on the primary outcome, walking speed (mean difference 0.04 m/s, 95% CI - 0.01-0.09, p = 0.132). Statistically significant between-group differences in favour of intervention were found on FSST (dynamic balance) (mean difference - 0.80 s, 95% CI - 1.57 to - 0.02, p = 0.044), arm curl (mean difference 1.55, 95% CI 0.49-2.61, p = 0.005) and 30-s STS (mean difference 1.85, 95% CI 1.04-2.67, p < 0.001), as well as fear of falling (mean difference - 1.45, 95% CI - 2.64 to - 0.26, p = 0.018). No statistically significant differences between the groups were found on health-related quality of life.

Conclusion: Twelve weeks of a supervised multicomponent resistance and balance exercise programme improves muscle strength and balance and reduces fear of falling, in women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fractures.

Trial registration: ClincialTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02781974. Registered 25.05.16. Retrospectively registered.

Keywords: Exercise; Health-related quality of life; Osteoporosis; Physical fitness; Vertebral fracture.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Postural Balance
  • Quality of Life*
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02781974