Reducing the risk of fractures in older women is the aim of a research study at Griffith University.
The study led by Associate Professor Belinda Beck of the Griffith Health Institute’s Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, is hoping to determine if high load resistance training is a safe and effective strategy for improving bone and muscle strength and physical function in post-menopausal women.
Called LIFTMOR (Lifting Intervention For Training Muscle and Osteoporosis Rehabilitation), the study is aiming to recruit 100 healthy women aged over 60. Half of the women will be randomly assigned to a high load resistance training program either on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane. The other half will complete a lower load home-based exercise program.
The program will only take 30 minutes twice a week for eight months, with participants being asked to undertake a small number of exercises of gradually increasing intensity. All study participants will receive free scans at the beginning and end of the study to assess changes in bone mass and muscle strength.
“Unfortunately, one in three women will experience a fracture after the age of 60 as a result of a gradual decline in bone health; some of which may be fatal or cause significant loss of independence,” says Associate Professor Beck.
“We are basing our exercise program on one developed by Olympic weightlifter Lisa Weis who runs a fitness facility in Brisbane focussing on older women. Lisa’s program has had some success, but real data is needed to test the effects.”
Physiotherapist Mr Steven Watson who is conducting the study as part of his PhD says: “We are optimistic that this research will produce some positive outcomes, with the women expected to show an increase in bone mass and muscle strength which translates into a reduced risk of fracture.”
Globally, osteoporotic fracture is now responsible for 0.83% of all noncommunicable diseases (1.75% in Europe), and therefore accounts for considerable worldwide mortality and morbidity.
In 2013, there were almost 400 osteoporotic fractures a day in Australia, and by 2022 it is estimated the number will increase to 500.
For more information on this study please go to www.liftmor.org