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Falls and Hip Fractures

Reducing Falls

Balance Training with Exercise and Physical Therapy

Research shows that balance exercises combined with strength training are associated with a decreased risk of falling (Campbell AJ, 1997; Campbell AJ, 1999; Chang JT, 2004; Gillespie LD, 2003; Hu FM, 1994; Li F, 2004; Province MA, 1995; Robertson 2001; Shumway-Cook A, 1997). Studies demonstrated retention of balance abilities and decreased incidence of falls following these types of exercise with a 6 to 9 month carry over into functional activities when exercise was stopped. Intervention aimed at exhibited physical impairments has proven to be effective.

Individuals participating in a balance training and exercise program experience an increase in attention span and in visual perception. They fall less often as they become aware of their limits of stability and are able to compensate for balance deficits. Once impairments are diminished, regular physical activity will contribute to healthy aging.

The goals of balance retraining consistent with current research include the following activities:

  • Resolve or diminish the underlying impairments contributing to falls
  • Develop effective and efficient task-specific strategies to address the impairments
  • Adapt task-specific strategies so that functional tasks can be performed in a changing environment
  • Maximize protection against falls by interventions that target multiple risk factors

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Last Update: Dec 3 2012