Falls are a big source of injury for individuals over the age of 65, and doctors are always looking for better ways to help keep patients upright. According to new research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, exercise may be one of the best ways to prevent against falls in older individuals.
For their study, researchers examined nearly 240 previously published studies involving about 160,000 people over the age of 65. Most of the studies examined control group seniors against groups that had undergone some type of fall prevention treatment. Some of the fall prevention groups analyzed in these studies were:
- Education about Fall Safety
- Vitamin Supplements
- Home Modifications
- Vision Treatment
- Balance Training
Fall Prevention Basics
After looking at all the data, researchers came to the conclusion that exercise appears to be one of the best ways to prevent against falls in senior citizens. Individuals assigned to exercise programs were 49 percent less likely to suffer a fall that resulted in injuries compared to the control group.
Researchers also said the other intervention methods showed promise, although they did not note the decreased fall risk associated with each intervention strategy. However, they did suggest that a person could greatly reduce their likelihood of a fall injury by combining prevention strategies, like by exercising and getting routine eye exams. Individuals who participated in both of these interventions decreased their likelihood of a fall injury by 83 percent compared to the control population. If you add on home modifications of potentially dangerous areas and vitamin supplements, that number jumps to 88 percent.
We wish that they would have gone into more detail about the benefits of balance training as you get older. Fall injuries aren’t just from tripping over an object or missing a step, for some seniors a fall can occur during a momentary loss of balance.
Senior citizens who participate in balance training exercises like yoga or tai chi also have a reduced risk of falls because they are strengthening their foot muscles. Normal exercise isn’t always easy as we get into our 70s and 80s, so it’s important to find other ways to stay active. If you have questions about how you can reduce fall injuries, or if you just want a doctor to answer your foot-related question, reach out to Dr. Silverman in the text box below.