Exercise regimes that promote strength and balance could lower the risk of elderly being injured in falls by a third, according to new statistics.
Injuries such as fractures and breaks that occur due to falls is common among the elderly, with around one in three people over the age of 65 living at home suffering at least one fall each year. New research from France has measured the benefits of physical exercises that promote balance and muscle strength and found that such exercise not only prevents falls, but lowers injury rates as well.
Researchers analysed the results of 10 previous trials that involved thousands of participants with an average age of 76 to get this data. Results showed that those who followed fall-prevention exercise programmes were 37% less likely to be injured as result of a fall, 61% less likely to suffer a fracture and 43% less likely to suffer severe harm.
Two of the trials in particular looked at the benefits of Tai Chi, while others consisted of a variety of functional training including resistance work and balance exercises. Previous studies have shown that yoga, walking and even waltzing can all help to prevent falls in the elderly.
All of the exercises looked at in the latest study focused on balance training, providing substantial evidence that they are effective at improving balance and therefore reducing the risk of falls. A paper published on bmj.com said this report suggests 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."
Therapies to consider if you wish to improve your balance include:
Keeping your body flexible, strong and well balanced can start at any age and will only continue to help you as you age. To find out more about physical therapies such as the Alexander Technique, Yoga and Physiotherapy, please follow the links to our extensive fact-sheets.
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