-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise programs meant to
prevent falls in seniors may also help prevent injuries caused by
falls, according to a new review.
Fall-related injuries are common among seniors and a major cause
of long-term pain and disability. They also increase the risk of
having to go to a nursing home and have a high economic cost.
The new findings, published online Oct. 29 in the journal
bmj.com, suggest that "reducing the risk of falling and
improving protective responses during a fall may be an important
and feasible means of preventing fractures and other serious
injuries in the elderly," the study authors wrote in a journal news
Well-designed exercise programs can prevent falls in seniors
living at home, but there is a lack of evidence on whether such
programs can help prevent fall-related injuries, said French
researchers Fabienne El-Khoury and colleagues.
In this review, they analyzed 17 studies that looked at whether
fall-prevention exercises lowered seniors' risk of fractures and
other injuries caused by falls. More than 4,000 participants were
involved in all.
Tai Chi was the exercise in two of the studies, but most of them
used gait, balance, strength and functional training, which
involves workouts that help people do normal daily activities.
Most of the programs reduced fall-related injuries and appeared
to significantly curb falls that lead to fractures, serious
injuries and medical care.
Balance training was emphasized in all of the exercises that
were effective in preventing falls, the researchers noted.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
older adults and falls.
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