The Effect of Leisure Activities on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women

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Purpose: Many have studied the effect of exercise on the skeletal system of the whole body or specific bones among postmenopausal women, but few compared the differential effects of exercise on different body parts. We have investigated the reaction of bone density, of different body parts, to leisure activities among postmenopausal women.

Methods: Postmenopausal women recruited for the study, with two groups, exercise group (n=37, 54.2±4.6 years old) and control group (n=69, 53.7±4.4 years old).

Exercise group participated in square dancing, hiking, jogging and other leisure physical activities for 8 months. Control group was not physically active. Bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm*cm) and bone mineral content (BMC, kg) were tested using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in whole body mode. BMD and BMC of lumbar / thoracic vertebra, pelvis, and bilateral upper & lower limbs were calculated following equipment instruction. Pre and post observations were compared between two groups using two-way ANOVA, alpha was set at .05.

Results: In the exercise group, BMD (0.73±0.12) and BMC (0.08±0.01) of thoracic vertebra and BMC (0.14±0.03) of pelvis increased significantly, as compared with those before intervention (BMD = 0.69±0.09, BMC = 0.08±0.01 / 0.14±0.02) and control group (BMD = 0.68±0.10, BMC = 0.08±0.01 / 0.13±0.02). In control group, BMD (0.78±0.10 / 0.84±0.11) and BMC (0.05±0.01 / 0.13±0.02) of lumbar vertebra and pelvis decreased significantly as compared with those (BMD = 0.80±0.10 / 0.88±0.10, BMC = 0.05±0.01 / 0.14±0.02) before intervention, but no difference observed for both BMD and BMC of thoracic vertebra. In exercise group, BMD (0.57±0.14 / 0.85±0.13 / 0.88±0.16) and BMC (0.11±0.02 / 0.24±0.03 / 0.24±0.04) of dominant-side upper limbs and both sides of the lower limbs increased significantly as compared with those before intervention (BMD = 0.55±0.08 / 0.81±0.12 / 0.84±0.13, BMC = 0.10±0.02 / 0.23±0.03 / 0.23±0.03) and control group (BMD = 0.52±0.08 / 0.80±0.12 / 0.82±0.13, BMC 0.10±0.02 / 0.23±0.03 / 0.23±0.03). No exercise effect observed for both BMD and BMC of the non-dominant upper limbs.

Conclusions: Leisure physical activities can improve BMD and BMC of thoracic vertebra in tested population, also maintain BMD and BMC of lumbar vertebra and pelvis.


American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference (ACSM)


Boston, MA