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A multi-component exercise regimen to prevent functional decline and bone fragility in home-dwelling elderly women: randomized, controlled trial

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This study showed that combination of strength, balance, agility and jumping training prevented functional decline and bone fragility in home-dwelling elderly women. The finding supports the idea that it is possible to maintain good physical functioning by multi-component exercise program and thus postpone the age-related functional problems.


This 1-year randomized, controlled exercise intervention trial assessed the effects of two different training programs and their combination on physical functioning and bone in home-dwelling elderly women.


One hundred and forty-nine healthy women aged 70–78 years were randomly assigned into: group 1—resistance training (RES), group 2—balance-jumping training (BAL), group 3—combination of resistance and balance-jumping training (COMB), and group 4—controls (CON). Self-rated physical functioning, leg extensor force, dynamic balance, and bone mass and structure were measured.


Self-rated physical functioning improved in the COMB group, but was reduced in the CON group; the mean inter-group difference was 10% (95% CI: 0–22%). Mean increase in the leg extensor force was higher in the RES (14%; 4–25%) and COMB (13%; 3–25%) compared with the CON groups. Dynamic balance improved in the BAL (6%; 1–11%) and in the COMB (8%; 3–12%) groups. There were no inter-group differences in BMC at the proximal femur. In those COMB women who trained at least twice a week, the tibial shaft structure weakened 2% (0–4%) less than those in the CON group.


Strength, balance, agility, and jumping training (especially in combination) prevented functional decline in home-dwelling elderly women. In addition, positive effects seen in the structure of the loaded tibia indicated that exercise may also play a role in preventing bone fragility.

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We thank the staff and all the study participants for taking part in this trial, and the Atletico training center for allowing free participation in the training. We also thank Ritva Nupponen, PhD, for her assistance in analyzing self-rated physical functioning. This study was supported by the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Education, and the Medical Research Fund of the Tampere University Hospital.

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Correspondence to A. Heinonen.

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Karinkanta, S., Heinonen, A., Sievänen, H. et al. A multi-component exercise regimen to prevent functional decline and bone fragility in home-dwelling elderly women: randomized, controlled trial. Osteoporos Int 18, 453–462 (2007).

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