Shanb and Youssef (2014) provided evidence, which supported that physical activity and exercise could increase bone mass, balance, strength, mobility, and ultimately, higher quality of life. The authors conducted an experiment whereby 40 subjects (i.e., 27 females and 13 males) between 60-67 years old were randomly assigned to a control group (i.e., nonweight bearing activity) and an experimental group (i.e., weight bearing activity). All patients trained for 45-60 min/session, two sessions/week for 6 months.
The weight bearing group (using compressive exercises) implemented the bench press, double leg press, quarter squats, wide stance mini‑squat, quadruped position and step‑up exercises, wall slides with upper limb, and standing on one limb with arm support (Shanb & Youssef, 2014). The non-weight bearing group performed hip exercises (extension and abduction), leg extension exercise, arm exercises, biceps curl, triceps curl, quadriceps and hamstrings curl, wrist curl-in (i.e., flexion, extension, rotation), and back extension exercises from standing (Shanb & Youssef, 2014). Shanb and Youssef (2014) had each group perform three sets per exercise, repeated 8 times. Resistance was determined to be 25% of 1 repetition maximum.
Results indicated that both interventions improved bone mineral density in the lumbar spine, neck of the femur, and right distal radial head (Shanb & Youssef, 2014). However, weight bearing exercise results indicated that bone mineral density, specifically on weight bearing bones, were higher in the experimental groups as opposed to the control group (Shanb & Youssef, 2014).
Evidence indicates the importance of strength training, specifically in weight bearing/compressive positions, among the elderly population. Such knowledge behooves exercise professionals to design and implement exercise regimes that stimulate bone growth. In this way, elderly individuals are provided the opportunity to change their lives, improve their health, and enhance their quality of life.
Shanb, A. A., & Youssef, E. F. (2014). The impact of adding weight‑bearing exercise versus nonweight bearing programs to the medical treatment of elderly patients with osteoporosis. Journal of Family and Community Medicine, 21(3), 176-181.