March 17, 2010 — It’s been well-established that exercise has numerous health benefits, yet it is only recently exercise has been shown safe and effective at improving health and quality of life in older adults.
Recognizing that advanced aging and its associated age-related diseases are straining healthcare systems, researchers in Germany sought to determine whether a single exercise program affects fracture risks, coronary heart disease risk factors and healthcare costs in women 65 years or older.
In their study, 246 women 65 years or older were randomly assigned to either a high-intensity/low volume well-rounded exercise program, or a low-intensity wellness exercise control group.
The findings of the 18-month study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2010 Jan 25;170(2):179-85).
The exercise group protocol included cardiovascular warm-up exercises, upper body strengthening exercise using Thera-Band bands, unilateral lower extremity weight-bearing exercises, stretching, and balance exercises.
The control group performed low-level cardio respiratory exercises and a variety of activities designed not to cause physical adaptations. The exercise program included two 60-minute group sessions per week and two 20-minute home-based sessions per week.
At the end of the 1 ½ year exercise program, the strengthening group using Thera-Band bands significantly improved in bone density compared to the control group. They also experienced 50 percent fewer falls than the control group. Both groups improved their cardiovascular disease risk factors, but the well-rounded exercise group reduced their risk nearly twice as much as the control group.
Interestingly, there was no significant difference in costs for either program, although the healthcare costs per participant was higher in the control group.
The Thera-Band Academy provided the Thera-Band® exercise bands used in the study, but did not fund the study. This study’s abstract is available at www.thera-bandacademy.com.
Source: Performance Health, www.theraband.com