Osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans and is characterized by low bone density. Persons with low bone density are at higher risk of fractures after a fall. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends balance training as part of an exercise program for persons with osteoporosis.

Researchers in Brazil evaluated the effectiveness of an eight week exercise program on balance and strength in women with osteoporosis. 33 subjects were randomly assigned to either the exercise or control group. All subjects were tested before and after the program for isokinetic leg strength and postural stability using a Neurocom Balance Master.

The exercise group performed a 10-minute warm-up followed by 20 minutes of balance training and 30 minutes of lower extremity strengthening exercises using ankle cuff weights and elastic bands.

After the 8-week program, the exercising group significantly improved their balance and leg strength compared to the control group. Adherence was excellent at 82%. While these results are promising, a longer term follow-up would be valuable in evaluating the program’s effectiveness at preventing falls and fractures.

An exercise program utilizing Thera-Band® resistance bands and ankle and wrist weights can be effective at improving risk factors associated with falls in osteoporotic women.

REFERENCE: Burke TN, et al. Postural control in elderly persons with osteoporosis: Efficacy of an intervention program to improve balance and muscle strength: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jul;89(7):549-56.

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