Older women trying to protect their bones and prevent fractures could benefit from exercise. A Finnish study of 160 elderly women randomized half to group instruction on exercises to improve balance and strength, while the other half did not get this intervention. During the 7-year follow-up period, more of the women in the control group were hospitalized with a fracture. Five of the women in the control group suffered hip fractures, compared to none in the exercise group. In addition, the exercising women were ten times less likely to die during this follow-up period. The authors suggest that elderly women with weakened bones, termed osteopenia, should be encouraged to exercise daily.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept.27, 2010]

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  1. Tamara
    Reply

    I am 52 and last year my doc said I had osteopenia. I have read the controversies of declaring someone to have osteopenia, still, my mother, 78, has osteoporosis, although her mother did not. After getting the actual results of the test, I concluded based on the numbers of the DEXA that I am borderline osteopenic. I don’t feel especially good about that, either.
    My doc told me to increase my vitamin D intake. I also read that magnesium is crucial as well. For a few years I have been taking a handful of supplements in the morning and I added more vitamin D and magnesium to the mix. I wonder, though, when I have my mid-morning “evacuation” and I see very yellow urine (I drink lots of water, so it’s not a concentration problem) in the john, if I am not simply “peeing money down the drain” as a friend tells me.
    I would love to read more about the ACTUAL benefits of taking supplements. Obviously getting these vitamins and minerals in your diet would be optimal. What’s the latest word on the ACTUAL benefits of supplements?

  2. pamela r.
    Reply

    I am 65 and have been struggling with osteopenia for 10 years, ever since I stopped taking HRT. A comment on the message above, about exercise and houses with stairs: My husband and I have lived in an old Victorian house with steep stairs up from the street, to the second floor, and down to the basement; we’ve lived here for 13 years. I’ve estimated that I go up and down these stairs about 30 times a day. In addition, I walk and strength train for an hour every day, garden enthusiastically, and do all my own housework. I am not overweight and eat an exemplary diet. My bones, at best, are holding their own at the edge of osteoporosis. I think there must be a strong genetic component, but my mother, at 96, does not have this problem.

  3. scfaulk
    Reply

    I would like to learn about more specific exercises for Osteoporosis and how much and how often. Some exercise is not as helpful for the bones and some are not safe.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED ON THIS AREA. WALKING IMPROVES HIP STRENGTH BUT NOT SPINE:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18602880
    There are several books available to explain specific exercises for osteoporosis. We found more than a dozen listed on Amazon.

  4. dp
    Reply

    Twelve years ago we bought a house with stairs, on purpose, because I knew the stairs would be good for both of us. My husband has a desk job and is a couch potato except for the two mile walk we do 3-4 times a week. I’m 70 now and have NO osteopenia. Other than running up and down the stairs, I garden on a hill and do 1 1/2 hrs of a yoga class once a week. Exercise and diet make all the difference in the world on our bones.

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