Elderly women encouraged to work those hips to prevent hip fractures

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Balance, leg strength, and impact training may help protect high-risk elderly women from sustaining hip fractures, according to a new study published in yesterday’s Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers in Finland followed 160 women randomly assigned to a supervised weekly exercise group or a control group to determine if such training sessions can reduce risk factors for hip fractures in elderly women suffering from osteopenia — a condition characterized by a reduction in bone mass and low bone calcium levels. The results indicate that “moderate lifelong physical activity decreased the overall risk of having fractures.”

“Though this is a small study, very few elderly patients who suffer from hip fractures due to falls return to independent living, so balance training is important,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “I wish this had been done with a larger group, but the results are quite consistent with commonsense. Such a minimal intervention has the potential to do a large amount of good by preventing devastating falls among elderly women. Home evaluation should also be done to remove hazards such as phone cords and bumpy rugs.”