Elderly women who improve strength and balance can effectively reduce the risk of suffering a fall and potentially a hip fracture or replacement, according a new report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
For the study, a total of 160 women were divided into two separate groups — 84 women into a group of exercisers, and 76 women into a control group.
Over the course of six months, one time per week in October through March between 1998 and 2001, the women in the exercise group attended classes to improve balance, impact, and leg strength. They were evaluated for about seven years after completing the exercise classes.
Doctors explain the major cause of hip fractures to be falls — at least 90 percent. Hip fractures are severe as they play very high demands on the patient and also increase mortality rates.
Following completion of the exercise period, 17 women from the exercise group received hospital treatment for fractures and 23 women from the control group had fractures. Serious hip fractures occurred in 5 women from the control group, while zero women in the exercise group suffered severe fractures.
Proximal fractures occurred in over 52 percent of non-exercising women, and under 18 percent of exercise-group women. Performing reasonable, lifelong physical activity reduced overall injury risk. Also, women in the exercise group noticed considerable gains in leg strength when compared to the control group.
Experts recommend moderate physical activity to performed each day by elderly women to reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening injuries.