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Exercise to prevent falls

8 August 2012

Exercise to prevent falls

Falling currently costs the NHS £4.6 billion a day with 1 in 3 over 65’s experiencing one a year. Simple exercises, such as standing on one leg, could reduce these incidents by a third.
A study was conducted on 300 over 70’s, with those who had suffered at least two minor falls or one that caused injury in the past year, split into the three treatment groups with any falls over a year recorded using daily calendars. Researchers compared LiFE training with a structured exercise programme using ankle cuff weights and sham exercises three times a week, which acted as the control group.

The LiFE (Lifestyle integrated Functional Exercise) programme was developed by researchers from the University of Sydney and involves daily training routines such as walking, stepping over objects and moving from sitting to standing. Ageing specialist Professor Lindy Clemson said,
‘LiFE is a tailored programme of embedded balance and strength activities, taught over five home visits with two booster visits.”

The results showed that people in the LiFE programme had 1.66 falls per person a year compared to 1.90 in the structured group and 2.28 in the control group. This shows that the new programme may have a significant effect on the elderly population and greatly reduce their risk of falls.

Professor Meg Morris, of the University of Melbourne, said “For fall prevention programmes in older people to be effective therapeutic exercises, education and physical activities need to be sustainable, enjoyable and effective over the long term. The belief falls should be accepted and tolerated as part of the ageing process is a myth that needs dispelling. Many falls can and should be prevented.”