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Explosive Jumping Can Help Prevent Falls in Women With Osteoporosis Risk

Allison Inserro
Can older women with low bone mass decrease their risk of falls with a fitness trend called explosive jumping? One study says it’s possible, and that it may be worthwhile to incorporate muscle power training into traditional fall-prevention programs.
Can older women with low bone mass decrease their risk of falls with a fitness trend called explosive jumping? One study says it’s possible, and that it may be worthwhile to incorporate muscle power training into traditional fall-prevention programs.

Postural control is impaired in women with low bone mass, and older women with low bone mass are at higher risk of fracture, according to the study, published recently in Osteoporosis International.

Postmenopausal women often struggle with their balance due to low bone mass, or osteoporosis. Muscle power may be an important correlate of postural control, but this has not been assessed until now in women at higher risk of bone fractures. This study examined correlates of postural control in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density.

In designing the study, the researchers hypothesized that in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, postural control will be related more strongly to neuromuscular power than muscle force or size. The researchers said explosive jumping relates most strongly to postural control.

Muscle power reduces more with age (~3.5% loss per year of age) than muscle force (1-2% loss per year of age).

For this study, 101 women were screened and 68 were included. The age range was 57 to 74 years and the women had low bone mass at their spine or hip.

The researchers found that performance of an explosive countermovement jump, specifically jump power and height, were associated with postural control in single-leg-stance. However, leg press strength (10 repetition maximum), countermovement jump force, and calf muscle area were not.

This was evident for single-leg-stance on an unstable surface and on a stable surface, both with eyes open. In single-leg-stance on a stable surface with eyes closed, only body mass remained significant in the final analysis.

In a statement, associate professor Daniel L. Belavy, PhD, from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, said until now there has been limited research in this area. Belavy said that controlling balance was a complicated task and required control of the body's core mass as well as the ability to anticipate posture adjustments.

"We found in these women, neuromuscular power was in fact more important for them in terms of balance, rather than muscle strength or size.” He said neuromuscular power “is a measure of how quick, fast and hard, with intensity, that a person can move.”

Reference

Stolzenberg N, Felsenberg D, Belavy DL. Postural control is associated with muscle power in post-menopausal women with low bone mass [published online June 25, 2018]. Osteoporos Int. doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-4599-1.

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