Exercise programs designed to prevent falls in older adults were shown to prevent injuries caused by falls, including the most severe ones, according to a recent study.

Researchers examined 17 randomized controlled trials of fall prevention exercise interventions in 4,305 older community-dwelling individuals. Two trials involved tai chi, whereas the others consisted of gait, balance and functional training, and most included strength and resistance training.

Study results showed that most of the exercise interventions tended to reduce injurious falls in all injury categories, ranging from minor bruising to those requiring hospitalization. Exercise was shown to significantly decrease the rate of falls, and researchers found all the exercises that proved to be effective for fall prevention emphasized balance training.

“The results presented in this paper show a positive effect of exercise on injurious falls, including the most severe falls and those that result in medical care — that is, those with the greatest consequences for people’s health and use of resources,” the researchers concluded. “These results should provide useful additional evidence for health care providers to encourage participation in exercise fall prevention programs, and further justification for decision makers to provide funding for those programs.”

For more information:

El-Khoury F. BMJ. 2013;doi:10.1136/bmj.f6234.

Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.



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