Because elderly women are the group of people most prone to osteoporosis, it’s important to find ways of reducing hip fracture risk. This is an age-related disorder in which the bones become brittle, and can even break more easily if care is not taken. By taking calcium supplements earlier in life and continuing after menopause, women may be able to help slow down its onset and protect their bones. Unfortunately, there are very few signs or symptoms that the bones are thinning from the outside, so a woman may not know that she is suffering from osteoporosis until she falls down and suffers a hip fracture.
In addition to calcium supplements, there are other methods for reducing hip fracture risk. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that elderly women who practice some sort of gentle exercise routine on a regular basis are far less prone to hip fractures. This study took place over a course of seven years, in which 84 women attended impact training and strengthening courses for six month sessions. The women selected for this study already had developed osteopenia, or a reduction of bone mass. Osteopenia is often seen as a precursor or companion of osteoporosis, and also involves low calcium measurements in the bones.
These women were also compared to a control group of 76 women who didn’t participate in any types of exercise classes. The results showed that exercise may indeed have an impact on reducing hip fracture risk. Out of the group that took part in the exercise program, only 17 women were admitted to the hospital with hip fractures, while 23 from the control group suffered the same consequences. The control group was determined by the researchers to have a 52% chance higher risk of hip injury, while those who exercised only had a 17% likelihood of injury.
There may be several reasons why exercise is linked to reducing hip fracture risk in elderly women. By exercising regularly, the researchers pointed out that the women who took part in the study gained leg strength over time. This helped to support the body and prevent any misalignment of the hips that could lead to falls or fractures. With gentle exercise, such as a home training program, they concluded that there could be a “positive long-term effect” on the strength and balance of these elderly women.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 54% of elderly women in the United States are diagnosed with osteopenia, and many go on to develop osteoporosis. By using the results of this study to find a reason to exercise, it may be possible to go about reducing hip fracture risk and lead a healthier lifestyle, even after menopause. Other risk factors, such as smoking or drinking, should also be looked at, but this research shows a natural and positive way to help prevent falls and fractures that could be devastating in old age.