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Maintenance of exercise-induced benefits in physical functioning and bone among elderly women

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This study showed that about a half of the exercise-induced gain in dynamic balance and bone strength was maintained one year after cessation of the supervised high-intensity training of home-dwelling elderly women. However, to maintain exercise-induced gains in lower limb muscle force and physical functioning, continued training seems necessary.


Maintenance of exercise-induced benefits in physical functioning and bone structure was assessed one year after cessation of 12-month randomized controlled exercise intervention.


Originally 149 healthy women 70–78 years of age participated in the 12-month exercise RCT and 120 (81%) of them completed the follow-up study. Self-rated physical functioning, dynamic balance, leg extensor force, and bone structure were assessed.


During the intervention, exercise increased dynamic balance by 7% in the combination resistance and balance-jumping training group (COMB). At the follow-up, a 4% (95% CI: 1–8%) gain compared with the controls was still seen, while the exercise-induced isometric leg extension force and self-rated physical functioning benefits had disappeared. During the intervention, at least twice a week trained COMB subjects obtained a significant 2% benefit in tibial shaft bone strength index compared to the controls. A half of this benefit seemed to be maintained at the follow-up.


Exercise-induced benefits in dynamic balance and rigidity in the tibial shaft may partly be maintained one year after cessation of a supervised 12-month multi-component training in initially healthy elderly women. However, to maintain the achieved gains in muscle force and physical functioning, continued training seems necessary.

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We thank all the study participants for taking part of this study. We also thank statistician Matti Pasanen, MSc, for statistical consultation, Katriina Ojala, MSc, for physical performance measurements, and Virpi Koskue for DXA and pQCT measurements. The work was financially supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education, Medical Research Fund of the Tampere University Hospital, and the Miina Sillanpää foundation.

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Correspondence to S. Karinkanta.

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Karinkanta, S., Heinonen, A., Sievänen, H. et al. Maintenance of exercise-induced benefits in physical functioning and bone among elderly women. Osteoporos Int 20, 665–674 (2009).

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