Exercise effects on fitness and bone mineral density in early postmenopausal women: 1-year EFOPS results

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To determine the effect of an intense exercise training on physical fitness, coronary heart disease (CHD), bone mineral density (BMD), and parameters related to quality of life in early postmenopausal women with osteopenia.


Fifty-nine fully compliant women (55.1 ± 3.4 yr) without any medication or illness affecting bone metabolism took part in intensive exercise training (>2 sessions per week); 41 women served as nontraining control. Both groups received calcium and vitamin D (cholecalciferol) up to a maximum of 1500 mg·d−1 calcium and 500 IU·d−1 vitamin D. Bone density of the lumbar spine and hip (DXA Hologic QDR 4500), maximum isometric and dynamic strength (Schnell M3, Schnell-Trainer), V̇O2max (ZAN 600), and quality of life parameters including vasomotor symptoms related to menopause were measured at baseline and after 14 months.


After 14 months, there were significant differences between exercise and control groups concerning changes of bone density (LS exercise: +1.3%, P < 0.001 vs control: −1.2%, P < 0.001), maximum isometric strength (exercise: +11 to +32% (P < 0.001) vs control: −1.1 to +3.9%), V̇O2max (exercise: +11% (P < 0.001) vs control: −4% (P < 0.05)), and quality of life parameters (e.g., lower back pain). Dynamic strength (1RM tests) at four exercises, which was assessed in the exercise group only, increased significantly by 15–43% (all P < 0.001).


The intense exercise training program presented here was effective in improving strength, endurance, quality of life parameters, and even BMD in women in their critical early postmenopausal years.

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