If you’re planning to exercise until you take your last breath, you’ve made a health decision for your bones, finds a new study. Researchers revealed that elderly women who exercise regularly can reduce the risk of falls and injuries such as broken hips.
According to Fox News, a group of women in their 70s began an exercise program monitored by the researchers, out of the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research in Tampere, Finland.
The researchers looked at 149 women ages 70 to 78 who either did resistance training, balance exercises, workouts combining both elements, or no exercise at all, reports Fox.
At the onset of the study, most of the women were relatively inactive, or exercised at most, twice a week. They had no signs of osteoporosis or medical conditions that could pose threats during exercise such as falls or broken bones.
The researchers slowly scaled up the exercise activity for the women over a six-week period. .
“After five years of follow up, 61 women had a total of 81 fall-related injuries, reports Fox. “Half of the women assigned no exercise at all experienced at least one fall.”
The women who exercised showed a 51 percent lower risk of injuries from falls and were 74 percent less likely to break or fracture bones than the women who did not exercise.
The women who combined both balance and strength training three times a week for one year were 62 percent less likely to sustain injuries related to falls over the next five years compared with women who did not partake in some form of exercise.
Most notable of the study’s findings was that the benefits seemed to last long after the exercise stopped.
“It is useful to train a little bit harder and intensively so that your physical functioning really improves,” lead author Saija Karinkanta
said by email to Fox. “After that, you can maintain the benefits with lighter, less intensive exercise.”
On average, only one in ten adults over age 65 regularly exercise.
Image: Lars Plougman
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