In the latest study on the effectiveness of exercise and the prevention of falls in older adults, it seems men do well. The study compared long-term physical exercise with health education.
According to researchers from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study, serious falls can be prevented by as much as 38% using a program of physical exercise. But this was most evident for men.
“The physical activity program was more effective in reducing the rate of serious fall injuries in men than in women,” said Dr. Thomas M. Gill, professor of geriatrics.
The study to date is the largest of its type across eight centers including 1,635 sedentary persons aged 70-89. The data also indicated that falls were less serious in that when they occurred the fracture rate and the need for hospitalization were lower.
“the results suggest that moderate exercise may be the prescription for preventing life-changing falls in older men,” note the researchers.
During the study participants were prescribed moderate walking, and flexibility, strength, and balance training exercises. Even though the researchers were impressed with the study findings they feel more research is needed, Gill stated:
“The results from the current study support continued evaluation of the physical activity program for possible widespread implementation in the community.”
Take Home Message on Exercise and Falls
The take-home message is staying active and improving your fitness as you get older has many payoffs, with reducing the risk and severity of falls being one of them. This is critical because falls are a preventable major cause of disability in older adults.
Kashef, Ziba. “Physical Activity Reduces Risk of Serious Falls in Older Men.” Yale News. Yale University, 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2016. (read here)