Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Accidental Falls -- prevention & control; Aged, 80 and Over; Aged; Exercise Therapy -- methods; Muscle Strength -- physiology; Osteoporosis -- prevention & control; Postural Balance -- physiology; Quality of Life; Resistance Training -- methods; Risk Assessment


Background and Purpose: Bone Builders is an exercise program that incorporates both lower and upper extremities and is specifically designed for the older adult population. It was originally created for those that wanted to reduce their risk of osteoporosis, but currently there is no evidence that demonstrates these effects. However, exercises that are completed in the class are those that target causes of fall risk such as strengthening of hip abductors and balance activities. Participants have also reported that benefits of the class include improved balance, increased energy and mobility, and social support. Our study consisted of testing the fall risk of participants in this program, which were all women aged 65 years and older. This was compared to previous studies done, to determine whether this community exercise program decreases fall risk over time.

Methods: Twenty-six participants, with ages ranging from 68-86 that are currently attending the Bone Builder's program volunteered to participate in our study. Tests included were the 30 second sit-to-stand, grip strength, gait speed, TUG, and 4 stage balance tests. They also completed the Functional Efficacy Scale-International and a quality of life questionnaire, which measured subjective views of fall concern and overall satisfaction of attending the program.

Results: The majority of participants were within the normative data ranges on all tests. Some assessments showed scores lower than the norms, particularly the 30 second sit-to-stand test. The majority of repeat subject's scores improved or stayed the same, but some did worsen in the assessments, particularly for grip strength and gait speed. Overall, the age group ranging from 70-79 had the most scores above the normative data, and also scored higher on every assessment than the other age groups, except for the TUG.

Conclusion: Bone builders has been shown to have a positive effect on participation in exercise, as well as improving the fall risk and safety of the participants. The program has a social aspect that allows for accountability among participants. On average, scores were above the normative data for each age group, which is indicative of a decreased fall risk and higher level of mobility.