A new study released shows a direct correlation between weekly muscle strengthening and improving balance on falls and fractures in older women.

A study from a group of researchers in Finland compared elderly women who had osteopenia (low bone density) in two groups, those that did weekly activity and those who did nothing.  The weekly activity group was supervised in muscle strengthening and balance activities for three years.  At the end of the 7-year study 19% of the weekly activity group had been hospitalized for fractures compared to 31% of the non-activity group. 

In addition, the fractures that the weekly activity group had were not hip fractures in comparison the non-activity group had 5 hip fractures during that time period.  This finding is extremely significant since it is widely recognized that hip fractures are linked to a high mortality rate in older individuals.

The weekly activity group had improved gait and increased balance and muscle strength, all of which have been shown to reduce falls in elderly.  The biggest correlation found in this study was that regular physical activity was associated with reduced risk of fractures and falls. 

Whether you are participating in an activity with supervision or engaging in regular activity on your own, it is important to stay active as you age.   The old saying “move it or lose it” definitely applies when it comes to strength and balance.  Just adding 30 minutes of activity to your week can greatly reduce your fall and fracture risk.