This study investigated associations between exercise habit and bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) in postmenopausal women. The BMD and BMC of the spinal skeleton was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Exercise and energy expenditure of physical activity were estimated by questionnaire. For exercise activities, subjects were asked to identify all exercises they have participated in. The subjects were further asked to estimate the number of years of participation, the number of weeks per year, the number of times per week, and the number of hours per time. Subjects were then categorized into exercise (more than 3 times/wk, more than 30min per session exercise (n = 47) and nonexercise group (n = 72). Results indicated that there were no significant differences in BMD and BMC when comparisons were made between subjects in exercise habit, a general exercise group and a nonexercise control group. However, when exercise subjects were divided into weight-bearing and nonweight-bearing groups, significant differences were found. These results suggest that weight-bearing exercise positively influences bone mineral density and bone mineral content in postmenopausal women. Sedentary women should be encouraged to adopt a weight-bearing exercise to maintain the health of their skeletons. Exercise interventions are practical and feasible for healthy women and should be encouraged at the earliest possible age. Our findings lend support to recommendations for physical activity and weight-bearing exercise as a means of osteoporosis prevention.
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