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Senior Living Lifestyle | November 18, 2013 | By Jonita Dixon

Study Proves Effectiveness of Balance Training for Preventing Falls in Seniors

New Study Proves Effectiveness of Balance Training for Preventing Falls in SeniorsAccording to aa online report published in the web journal, BMJ, exercise programs for fall prevention in seniors could play a significant role in preventing serious injuries and fractures. Falls are a common cause of injury in older adults and a major reason for disability and long-term pain. The report suggested that exercises for improving the protective responses of an individual can be highly useful in avoiding fall-related injuries.

Emphasis on balance training for fall prevention

For this review, researchers looked at 17 different studies related to fall-prevention exercises and their effects on a senior’s risk of injury. In total, the medical and health records of over 4,000 participants were taken into consideration. Two of the studies especially focused on Tai Chi and a majority of them were related to strength, functional, gait, and balance training. All in all, all the workouts involved in the study were exercises that could enable an individual to complete their normal day-to-day activities.

Most of the studies found a reduction in fall-related injuries among the participants. The programs also seemed to have a significant effect on preventing falls that can result in fractures and other serious injuries that might require medical attention. The review also pointed out that balance training seemed to be the most effective form of exercise for preventing falls in seniors.

How fall-prevention exercise routines benefit seniors

While the reports emphasize on the importance of balance training for fall prevention, any exercise for improving flexibility, strength, and endurance can also help in preventing falls as well as fall-related injuries. A multi-component exercise program can benefit you in the following ways:

  • It can help you develop a faster reaction time. As a result, you can quickly support yourself by holding on to a stable object even if you start to fall.
  • It helps you develop stronger bones. With resistance exercises, you can strengthen your bones to build their resistance from fractures.
  • It improves your coordination. Although these exercises can directly prevent falls, they can also prepare you to protect your body from serious injuries in case you do fall.
  • It improves your brain function. Exercising regularly can help you maintain a sharp mind and healthy brain with age. With the ability to think clearly, you might be able to avoid situations that increase your risk of falling.
  • It builds muscle mass. Some exercises help you develop stronger and larger muscles to cushion the impact in case of a fall. This means your bones and joints get some protection with reduced risk of serious injuries.

From the overall reports of previous studies, the researchers for this review found that there was at least a 37% reduction in falls that can cause injuries. In addition, the exercise programs also resulted in a 43% reduction in falls causing serious injuries and a 61% reduction in broken bones. Since older adults are more likely to struggle with long-term dizziness or poor balance, these new reports suggest a promising future for fall prevention in seniors. Whether you sign up for an exercise program at a local community center or work with a personal trainer, regular exercise should be a part of your weekly routine for a healthier life and reduced injury risks.