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Steve Parker
Physician, writer, hospitalist, Christian
Physician, writer, hospitalist, Christian

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For Seniors On Weight-Loss Diet, Strength Training Beats Aerobics For Preserving Bone Mineral Density

…according to an article at MedPageToday.

The two experimental groups had about 60 participants each, so it was a relatively small study. (In general, the larger the study, the more reliable the findings.) Most participants were white women; mean age was 69. The experimental intervention ran for five months. An excerpt:

In one trial, the participants were randomized to a structured resistance training program in which three sets of 10 repetitions of eight upper and lower body exercises were done 3 days each week at 70% of one repetition maximum for 5 weeks, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.
In the second study, participants were randomized to an aerobic program which was conducted for 30 minutes at 65% to 70% heart rate reserve 4 days per week, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.

The beneficial bone effect was seen at the hip but not the lumbar spine.

Thin old bones—i.e., osteoporotic ones—are prone to fractures. Maintaining or improving bone mineral density probably prevents age-related fractures. In a five-month small study like this, I wouldn’t expect the researchers to find any fracture rate reduction; that would take years. 

Most elders starting a weight-training program should work with a personal trainer. I don’t quite qualify as elderly, but click if interested in my personal fitness program.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Strength training is also known as weight training and resistance exercise.
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QOTD: Exercise versus Death
"What fits your busy schedule better, exercising 30 minutes a day or being dead 24 hours a day?"

—Randy Glasbergen in a 2008 cartoon
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YOU Are the First Responder

Not the police, firemen, or EMTs. They are second responders.

So as the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”

Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Keep first aid supplies in your home and vehicle. Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. If you’ll be out in extremes of weather, know how to survive, whether or not something goes wrong. Learn how to protect yourself when confronted by a violent criminal. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.


Steve Parker, M.D.
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