Effect of changes in weight-bearing exercise on lumbar bone mass after age fifty

Beat A. Michel, Nancy E Lane, Daniel A. Bloch, Henry H. Jones, James F. Fries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This two year longitudinal study of 40 healthy subjects over age fifty (27 exercisers, 13 non-exercisers) was designed to evaluate the impact of weight-bearing exercise on lumbar bone mineral density as assessed by quantitative computed tomography. In both males and females exercising at moderate levels, a high correlation was found between changes in exercise and changes in bone density (r == 0.78 and 0.91, respectively P < 0.002). For extreme levels of exercise (>300 min/week in females over age fifty, and >200 min/week in males over age seventy) bone density was low, confirming earlier cross-sectional results. Subjects without change in their exercise levels and non-exercisers lost similar amounts of bone. Increasing body mass index was identified as a protective factor with regard to lumbar bone loss. We conclude that in exercisers continuation of weight-bearing exercise is mandatory to prevent excessive bone loss. Extreme levels of exercise may be detrimental to bone density in subjects over age fifty years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-401
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone density
  • Exercise
  • Lumbar spine
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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