Most commonly women suffer from osteoporosis after menopause. Specific exercises to strengthen the back have been found to protect women from osteoporosis-linked fractures. Osteoporosis is common after the menopause and involves a reduction in bone density, which puts a woman at risk of disabling bone fractures. Doctors at the University of Atlanta, now observ that a programme of back strengthening exercises is very effective in reducing this fracture risk.
A group of 40 health menopausal women, aged 52 to 70, either performed the exercises or acted as controls. After two years, there was no difference in bone density between the two - but at the end of ten years, the control group were 2.5 times more likely to have sustained a back fracture. The exercise group retained a significant benefit in back strength, even eight years after the programme had ended. They also lost less bone density than the control group. The researchers suggest that back strengthening exercises might be an effective alternative to hormone replacement therapy in protecting against osteoporosis. The programme could also be used to supplement hormone treatment.