Balance and Strength Training Reduces Risk of Falls Among Elderly Patients
Balance and strength training programs could cut falls among elderly patients by one-third, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers at the University of Sydney designed and tested the Lifestyle integrated Functional Exercise program, which involves embedding balance and lower limb strength training into daily routines, such as walking, stepping over objects and moving from sitting to standing. They then compared this approach with a structured exercise program (performed three times a week using ankle cuff weights) and gentle 'sham' exercises that acted as the study control.
More than 300 participants were split into the three treatment arms, and researchers recorded any falls over 12 months. They found a significant (31 percent) reduction in the rate of falls for participants in the LiFE program compared with the control group. In addition, LiFE participants showed better program adherence, improvements in both static and dynamic balance, ankle strength and in function and participation in daily life.
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