A friend points out that Reebok is selling an Ironwear Vest for $80.

Weighted vests have been shown to be useful in a long-term exercise program that “was as good or better than either estrogen or Fosamax for preventing bone loss” in post-menopausal women.

Study cite and abstract:

Snow CM, Shaw JM, Winters KM, Witzke KA.

Long-term exercise using weighted vests prevents hip bone loss in postmenopausal women.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2000 Sep;55(9):M489-91.

Bone Research Laboratory, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA. christine.snow@orst.edu

BACKGROUND: Bone mineral density (BMD) is a primary risk factor for hip fracture. We studied the effect of long-term weighted vest plus jumping exercise on hip BMD in postmenopausal women as a strategy for reducing hip fracture risk. METHODS: Eighteen postmenopausal women (age = 64.1 +/- 1.6 years at baseline, 69.9 +/- 1.6 years at post-testing) who had participated in a 9-month exercise intervention volunteered for the long-term trial. Nine of the original group engaged in weighted vest plus jumping exercise three times per week for 32 weeks of the year over a period of 5 years. Nine of the original controls were active but not enrolled in the exercise program. BMD of the proximal femur was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline and after 5 years. RESULTS: At baseline, groups were similar for age, weight, height, years past menopause, and BMD of the femoral neck, trochanter, and total hip. At follow-up, differences in BMD at all regions of the hip were higher in exercisers than controls. For exercisers, changes in BMD were + 1.54% +/- 2.37%, -0.24% +/- 1.02%, and -0.82% +/- 1.04% (means + SE) at the femoral neck, trochanter, and total hip, respectively; controls decreased at all sites (-4.43% +/- 0.93%. 3.43% +/- 1.09%, and -3.80% +/- 1.03%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: A 5-year program of weighted vest plus jumping exercise maintains hip BMD by preventing significant bone loss in older postmenopausal women. Furthermore, this particular program appears to promote long-term adherence and compliance, as evidenced by the commitment of the exercisers for more than 5 years.

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Also see:

Shaw JM, Snow CM.

Weighted vest exercise improves indices of fall risk in older women.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1998 Jan;53(1):M53-8.

Winters KM, Snow CM.

Detraining reverses positive effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system in premenopausal women.

J Bone Miner Res. 2000 Dec;15(12):2495-503.