Osteoporosis is a major public health concern. The combination of exercise, hormone replacement therapy, and calcium supplementation may have added benefits for improving bone mineral density compared to a single intervention. To test this notion, 320 healthy, non-smoking postmenopausal women, who did or did not use hormone replacement therapy (HRT), were randomized within groups to exercise or no exercise and followed for 12 months. All women received 800 mg calcium citrate supplements daily. Women who exercised performed supervised aerobic, weight-bearing and weight-lifting exercise, three times per week in community-based exercise facilities. Regional bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Women who used HRT, calcium, and exercised increased femoral neck, trochanteric and lumbar spine bone mineral density by approximately 1-2%. Trochanteric BMD was also significantly increased by ∼1.0% in women who exercised and used calcium without HRT compared to a negligible change in women who used HRT and did not exercise. The results demonstrate that regional BMD can be improved with aerobic, weight-bearing activity combined with weight lifting at clinically relevant sites in postmenopausal women. The response was significant at more sites in women who used HRT, suggesting a greater benefit with hormone replacement and exercise compared to HRT alone.
- Bone mineral density
- Hormone replacement