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14-11-2010 | Bone health | Article

Exercise program may improve osteoporosis patients’ quality of life


Free abstract

MedWire News: A 3-month program of circuit exercises can improve mobility and quality of life (QoL) in elderly women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fractures, Norwegian research shows.

Furthermore, the benefits of the program were still apparent at least 9 months after it had finished, report Astrid Bergland (Oslo University College) and colleagues in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Bergland and team devised a 3-month, twice weekly program that consisted of exercises such as walking while changing direction, avoiding and stepping over obstacles, getting down to and up off the floor, balance training, and posture promoting exercises. Each session lasted 1 hour.

In total, 89 postmenopausal women aged 60-84 years with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fracture, were randomly assigned to take part in the program (intervention group) or maintain their current lifestyle (control group).

The researchers used maximum walking speed (MWS; over 20 m indoors) and the timed up and go (TUG) test to assess mobility at baseline, at the end of the 3-month exercise program, and at 12 months from baseline.

Balance was assessed by functional reach, while QoL was assessed using the Quality of Life Questionnaire issued by the European Foundation for Osteoporosis (QUALEFFO-41) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-20).

At 3 months, participants in the intervention group had improved their MWS by 1.3 seconds, on average, whereas participants in the control group were 0.6 seconds slower compared with baseline. The difference in improvement between the two groups was statistically significant.

In addition, the improvement in TUG, functional reach, sum score of GHQ-20, and the mental function domain of QUALEFFO-41 from baseline to 3 months was significantly greater in the intervention group compared with the control group.

At 12 months, the MWS was 0.9 seconds faster than at baseline in the intervention group and 0.6 seconds slower than at baseline in the control group, a difference that was also significant.

Furthermore TUG, and the QUALEFFO-41: total score, QUALEFFO-41: mental function, QUALEFFO-41: physical function, and QULEFFO-41: pain domains had improved significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group at 12 months.

"Our intention was that the intervention should motivate the women to be physically active and continue with their exercise after the completion of the intervention period," write the researchers.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

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