National and international organizations emphasize the importance of physical activity for preventing bone loss and fracture. Clinical trials exploring the impact of bone health suggest that weight-bearing exercise or resistance training may prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. There is strong evidence suggesting that exercise may improve muscle strength and balance and prevent falls, which can indirectly prevent fractures.
The objectives of this study were:
- To quantify, using novel technology, time spent in physical activity among post-menopausal women with and without osteoporotic fracture and characterize the types of activities they engaged in.
- To understand physical activity preferences among postmenopausal women.
- Get estimates of willingness to pay for physical activity programming.
Ultimately, the results of this study will be used to design exercise programs to be disseminated nationwide, and to inform initiatives aimed at integrating exercise prescription into primary care.
Summary of findings
Sixty postmenopausal women were recruited to participate in this cross-sectional study from community osteoporosis support groups located in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph, Ontario. The initial assessment included examining an individual’s physical activity habits and preferences as well as evaluating functional outcomes such as gait, balance and posture. The second and ongoing phase of the study involves using activity monitors to profile participant’s physical activity patterns.
The study offers promising insight in that most, but not all of the participants were participating in at least 150 minutes of regular moderate intensity weight-bearing exercise per week as recommended by Health Canada. Future research must strive to sustainably integrate balance and resistance training exercise into the physical activity routines of older adults. Secondly, the results of this study highlight that older adults prefer a mix of individual and group exercise programs. Many of the participants were not interested, or not willing to pay for individualized exercise prescription. Ultimately, this study highlights the need for subsidized group and individualized exercise programs with greater integration of balance and leg-strengthening activities.