Should older women be lifting weights?

Many post-menopausal women are concerned with the risk of osteoporosis and fractures that can come with the aging process.

A study just came out that appears to show improvement with lifting weights.

The LIFTMOR (Lifting Intervention for Training Muscle and Osteoporosis Rehabilitation) trial looked at 101 post-menopausal women who had low bone mass (T-score < -1.0).    The women participated in supervised resistance exercises including overhead press and squat exercises.

The women who participated had increased bone density in the femur (hip bone), and up to 12% increased density of the vertebral bones (spine).  The women who participated in the study had an increase in height during the study of 0.2 cm.  Weight was not changed.

Is there a risk to lifting weights at an older age?  The researchers advised that women be educated and supervised when learning to lift weights, and to introduce exercise changes slowly, with a gradual increase in activity.  One woman in the study had a mild back spasm, but there were no other adverse effects noted.

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