Posted on Aug 17, 2016, 6 a.m.
Improving balance may lower fall-related injuries by 20%, among older women.
Brittle bones are common among aging women, with falls having the potential to cause major disability risks. Fabienne El-Khoury, from the Pierre Louis Institute for Epidemiology and Public Health (France), and colleagues enrolled 706 women, ages 75 to 85 years, living independently but experiencing reduced balance and gait capacities, to undergo either an exercise program involving balance training and in-home exercises, or no intervention. Participants were assessed as to subsequent rates of falls, and their severity. Older women who completed 2 years of the exercise program reduced their risk of being injured in a fall by about 20%. The team also observed that the women who completed the program also did better on walking and balance tests, and rated their own confidence, functioning and quality of life higher at the end of the study (as compared to those without intervention). The study authors report that: “A two year progressive balance retraining programme combining weekly group and individual sessions was effective in reducing injurious falls and in improving measured and perceived physical function in women aged 75-85 at risk of falling.”
El-Khoury F, Cassou B, Latouche A, Aegerter P, Charles MA, Dargent-Molina P. “Effectiveness of two year balance training programme on prevention of fall induced injuries in at risk women aged 75-85 living in community: Ossebo randomised controlled trial.” BMJ. 2015 Jul 22;351:h3830.