Study: Exercise may reduce risk of fall-related injuries in seniors

Falls are one of the most significant threats to seniors’ well-being. In fact, one-third of community dwelling seniors experience a fall each year, and they are the leading cause of injury among people 65 and older, the Public Health Agency of Canada reports. Injuries due to falls can significantly threaten a senior’s independence and mobility, but new research suggests that a regimen of simple exercise may help prevent fall-related injuries among older adults, according to findings published on

Widespread evidence
The study, performed by researchers from France, was based on an analysis of 17 previously conducted trials involving more than 4,200 participants. Subjects took part in a wide variety of exercise routines ranging from tai chi and balance-enchancing activities to strength building exercises and functional training. Researchers determined that the exercises resulted in a significantly lower risk of falls that required medical care or caused serious injuries and fractures.

“[There is] ample evidence that this type of program improves balance ability,” the authors wrote. However, they also noted that the positive results may be due to the positive impact that regular physical activity has on cognitive function.

More than exercise
Physical activity may be one of the most effective options available to help seniors prevent falls, but there are other factors that come into play as well. Chief among them is how their house is arranged. Luckily, there are a number of easy changes seniors and their caregivers can make in order to ensure older adults can stride comfortably about the house, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the simplest ways to fall-proof a home is to turn one’s attention to common tripping hazards – papers, books, clothes and shoes –  from heavily traveled areas. It is also a good idea to remove small throw rugs because they can slip and cause a fall. Removing tripping hazards is just one step, however. Seniors’ homes should also have improved lighting, and it’s a good idea for them to take the chance to review their medications to ensure none of their prescriptions will interfere with their balance or make them more prone to falls, the CDC noted.