Exercize And Fall Prevention For Seniors

Research in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reports that improvements in gait strength and balance can aid in fall prevention for elderly women who are at high risk of hip fractures and costly hip replacement procedures.

According to the study, one hundred sixty women were broken into two study groups: 84 to an exercise group, and 76 in a control percentage. For a six month period, once a week from October through March years 1998 through 2001, the women in the exercise group took classes pertaining to balance, leg strength and impact training. 

After the exercise period was complete, 17 women in the exercise group were hospital-treated for fractures, and 23 in the control contracted fractures. 

Five serious hip fractures were recorded in the control, non-training group compared to absolutely zero in the portion that worked on balance and stamina over the four year period.   Hip fractures are a major cause of injury that can result in the need for costly long-term care according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the Los Angeles-based educational group.

The researchers conducted follow-up research of 160 women who participated in a randomized trial aimed at reducing risk factors for fractures in elderly women with osteopenia (a reduction in bone mass, or low levels of bone calcium).

They noted that Thirty months of supervised, mainly home-based exercises followed by voluntary home training had a positive long-term effect on balance and gait in high-risk elderly women. Life-long physical activity was associated with reduced risk of fractures. 

Furthermore, mortality was significantly lower in the exercise group than in the control group during the extended follow-up period. Regular daily physical activity should be recommended to elderly women with osteopenia.

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