Reduce Your Risk of Falling

Falling can break your hip

Half of 80 year old people who break a hip die within a year

Multicomponent physical training—including muscle power, balance, and gait—can reduce risk of falls for older people and increase their Quality of Lifespan. But would training benefit the oldest old? A randomized controlled trial examined the effects of multicomponent training on muscle power output, muscle mass, and muscle tissue thinning, the risk of falls, and functional outcomes with 24 frail nonagenarians (90-99 year olds).

The physical training group performed a twice-weekly, 12 week multicomponent exercise program composed of muscle power training (8-10 repetitions), balance, and gait retraining. Compared to the non-exercise control group, the physical training group required significantly less time to rise from a chair to get up and walk. This group also demonstrated improved balance, a reduced incidence of falls, enhanced muscle strength, and increased muscle thickness and weight. Members of the control group had significantly lower strength and functional outcomes. Routine multicomponent exercise training increased Quality of Lifespan, even for nonagenarians.

Older people are susceptible to injurious falls due to reduced physical strength and balance. Recent research shows that moderate-intensity exercise can reduce the risk of falls. Could supervised community group training accomplish the same ends? Researchers in Australia recruited 163 people age 65 and older at risk of falls from general practice clinics in southwestern Sydney, Australia. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to the exercise group, while the other half comprised the control group. The exercise group members attended one-hour long classes over one year. Physiotherapists guided the classes that included major lower limb movements designed to improve balance, coordination, aerobic capacity and muscle strength. The control group members received written information about falls prevention.

At the end of the study, participants in the exercise group showed significantly better improvement than participants in the control group in three measures of postural sway and coordinated stability score. Similarly, those in the exercise group showed significantly lower rates of falls and injurious falls. Thus, the supervised exercise program with unsupervised additional home exercises reduced the risk of falls of community-dwelling at-risk older people.

In 2008, another group of Australian researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions designed to reduce the risk of falls by older people. The researchers updated their earlier work and came to the same overall conclusion as the previous analysis. Pooled analysis of 54 studies showed that a single-factor intervention, typically some type of physical exercise, led to a 16 percent drop in the risk of falls. More specifically, exercise programs that emphasized lots balance exercises led to a 38 percent drop in the risk of falls. Walking training did not reduce the risk of falls. The researchers recommended balance exercises with moderate to high challenge performed for at least two hours per week. Importantly, the benefits of balance training disappeared after training stopped. Thus, lower risk of falls will occur only continued Keep Moving.

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