The Beneficial Effects of Group-Based Exercises on Fall Risk Profile and Physical Activity Persist 1 Year Postintervention in Older Women with Low Bone Mass: Follow-Up After Withdrawal of Exercise
To determine whether exercise-induced reductions in fall risk are maintained in older women 1 year after the cessation of three types of interventions--resistance training, agility training, and general stretching.One-year observational study.Community.Ninety-eight women aged 75 to 85 with low bone mass.Primary outcome measure was fall risk, measured using the Physiological Profile Assessment tool. Secondary outcome measures were current physical activity level, assessed using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly, and formal exercise participation, assessed using an interview.At the end of the follow-up, the fall risk of former participants of all three exercise programs was maintained (i.e., still reduced) from trial completion. Mean fall risk value at the end of follow-up was 43.3% lower than mean baseline value in former participants of the resistance-training group, 40.1% lower in the agility-training group, and 37.4% lower in the general stretching group. Physical activity levels were also maintained from trial completion. Specifically, there was a 3.8% increase in physical activity from baseline for the resistance-training group, a 29.2% increase for the agility-training group, and a 37.7% increase for the general stretching group.After three types of group-based exercise programs, benefits are sustained for at least 12 months without further formal exercise intervention. Thus, these 6-month exercise interventions appeared to act as a catalyst for increasing physical activity with resultant reductions in fall risk profile that were maintained for at least 18 months in older women with low bone mass.