Physical fitness in older women with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture after a resistance and balance exercise programme: 3-month post-intervention follow-up of a randomised controlled trial

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2020 Jul 18;21(1):471. doi: 10.1186/s12891-020-03495-9.


Background: Exercise is recommended for individuals with vertebral fractures, but few studies have investigated the effect of exercise on outcomes of importance for this population. Post-intervention effects of exercise are even less studied. The objective of this study was to evaluate habitual walking speed and other health-related outcomes after cessation of a 3-month exercise intervention.

Methods: This follow-up study was conducted 3 months post-intervention of a randomised controlled trial. A total of 149 community-dwelling Norwegian women aged 65 years or older, diagnosed with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture were randomised into either exercise or control group. Primary outcome was habitual walking speed at 3 months. Secondary outcomes were other measures of physical fitness - including the Four Square Step Test (FSST), functional reach, grip strength and Senior Fitness Test - measures of health-related quality of life and fear of falling. Herein we report secondary data analysis of all outcomes at 6 months (3 months post-intervention). Data were analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle, linear mixed regression models were employed.

Results: For the primary outcome, habitual walking speed, there was no statistically significant difference between groups (0.03 m/s, 95%CI - 0.02 to 0.08, p = 0.271) at the 3-month post-intervention follow-up. For secondary outcomes of physical fitness, statistically significant differences in favour of the intervention group were found for balance using the FSST (- 0.68 s, 95%CI - 1.24 to - 0.11, p = 0.019), arm curl (1.3, 95%CI 0.25 to 2.29, p = 0.015), leg strength using the 30-s sit to stand (1.56, 95%CI 0.68 to 2.44, p = 0.001) and mobility using the 2.45-m up and go (- 0.38 s, 95%CI - 0.74 to - 0.02, p = 0.039). There was a statistically significant difference between the groups regarding fear of falling in favour of the intervention group (- 1.7, 95%CI - 2.97 to - 0.38, p = 0.011). No differences between groups were observed for health-related quality of life.

Conclusion: The results show the improved effects of a multicomponent exercise programme on outcomes like muscle strength, balance and mobility as well as fear of falling in a group of older women with osteoporosis and vertebral fracture 3 months post-intervention.

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

Keywords: Exercise; Osteoporosis; Physical fitness; Short-term effects; Vertebral fracture.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis* / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis* / therapy
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quality of Life
  • Spinal Fractures*

Associated data