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Balance exercise for aged

Exercise programmes that include balance training reduce falls among elderly people.

Balance exercise for aged

Exercise programmes that include balance training reduce falls among elderly people. Examples of successful falls prevention programmes include Tai Chi and home-based or group-based exercise prescribed by health professionals. To determine the effects of exercise on falls prevention in older people, researchers from Australia assessed exercise programmes in 44 trials. A total of 9,603 mostly community-living men and women, 65 percent of whom were 75 years of age or older, participated in the trials. Pooled data from these trials showed that exercise programmes were associated with a 17 percent reduction in the occurrence of falls. The greatest effect in preventing falls were seen with exercises that highly challenged balance, such as standing with legs closer together or on one leg, and programmes that included a higher total dose of exercise, for example at least 2 days a week for more than 25 weeks. Fall prevention was found to be better when programmes did not include a walking programme. Strength training also lacked benefit in this regard. The above findings indicate that walking may expose older people to a greater risk of falling. Also, strength training alone may not effectively reduce falls since impaired balance is a stronger risk factor for falls than poor muscle strength. Further research is expected to investigate whether well-designed walking programmes can prevent falls.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
December 2008
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