Recent Publications in Falls Prevention

Comparison of two different exercise approaches: tai chi versus Otago, in community-dwelling older women
Son NK, Ryu YU, Jeong HW, Jang YH, Kim HD.
J. Geriatr. Phys. Ther. 2016; 39(2): 51-57.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Regular exercise can delay age-related risk factors and can maintain or improve physical health and activity in older adults leading to a decrease in fall risk. The purpose of this study was to compare 2 different interventions for fall prevention, tai chi (TC) and Otago, by examining lower extremity strength, balance, and spatiotemporal gait parameters in community-dwelling older women. METHODS: We performed a randomized trial in which subjects were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: the TC group (n = 21; age, 72.8 ± 4.7 years, range: 65-83 years), which participated in a modified Sun-style TC exercise program; and the Otago group (n = 24; age, 71.5 ± 3.6 years, range: 65-79 years), which participated in the Otago exercise program. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, functional reach (FR) test, one-leg standing (OLS) test, 5 times sit-to-stand test (5×STS), 30-second sit-to-stand (30s STS) test, and gait parameters (gait velocity, step length, step width, stride time, and cadence) were measured before and after the intervention. RESULTS: Both groups showed statistically significant improvements in balance (TUG and OLS tests), lower extremity strength (5×STS and 30s STS tests), and spatiotemporal gait parameters, except for step width and step length (P <.05). The Otago group showed a significantly improved FR, whereas the TC group showed a significantly improved step length after the intervention (P <.05). Furthermore, the Otago group exhibited greater improvements in the TUG (P <.001), FR (P <.001), 5×CST (P <.01), and 30-second CST (P <.01) tests: a faster cadence (P <.001) and shorter stride time (P <.001) when compared with the TC group. The TC group showed greater improvements in the OLS test, step length, and step width (P <.01) and faster gait velocity (P <.05) than the Otago group. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study support the efficacy of the TC and Otago exercise programs in improving mobility in this sample of subjects. Furthermore, the Otago group showed greater improvement in lower extremity strength, whereas the TC group showed greater improvement in balance (OLS test). Also, the TC group showed a greater improvement in gait velocity after TC training program compared with the Otago exercise program. However, this study does not elucidate which exercise program is a more effective intervention method with older women for fall prevention.


Sedentary behavior and physical activity patterns in older adults after hip fracture: a call to action
Fleig L, McAllister MM, Brasher P, Cook WL, Guy P, Puyat JH, Khan KM, McKay HA, Ashe MC.
J. Aging Phys. Act. 2016; 24(1): 79-84.

OBJECTIVES: To characterize patterns of sedentary behavior and physical activity in older adults recovering from hip fracture and to determine characteristics associated with activity. METHODS: Community-dwelling, Canadian adults (65 years+) who sustained hip fracture wore an accelerometer at the waist for seven days and provided information on quality of life, falls self-efficacy, cognitive functioning, and mobility. RESULTS: There were 53 older adults (mean age [SD] 79.5 [7.8] years) enrolled in the study; 49 had valid data and demonstrated high levels of sedentary time (median [p10, p90] 591.3 [482.2, 707.2] minutes/day), low levels of light activity (186.6 [72.6, 293.7]), and MVPA (2 [0.1, 27.6]), as well as few daily steps (2467.7 [617.1, 6820.4]). Regression analyses showed that age, gender, gait speed, and time since fracture were associated with outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Older adults have long periods of sedentary time with minimal activity. Results are a call to action to encourage people to sit less and move more.


The effects of Pilates exercise training on physical fitness and wellbeing in the elderly: A systematic review for future exercise prescription
Bullo V, Bergamin M, Gobbo S, Sieverdes JC, Zaccaria M, Neunhaeuserer D, Ermolao A.
Prev. Med. 2015; 75: 1-11.

This systematic review aims to summarize the effects of Pilates exercise training (PET) in elderly population on physical fitness, balance and fall prevention, and its effects on mood states, quality of life and independence in the daily living activities. METHODS: Keyword “Pilates” associated with “elderly”, “aging” and “old subjects” were identified as terms for the literature research in MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus. Only studies published in peer-reviewed journals written in English language were considered. A meta-analysis was performed and effect sizes (ES) calculated. RESULTS: 10 studies were identified (6 RCTs and 4 uncontrolled trials); age ranged from 60 to 80years. Overall, PET showed large ES to improve muscle strength (ES=1.23), walking and gait performances (ES=1.39), activities of daily living, mood states and quality of life (ES=0.94), moderate to high effect on dynamic balance (ES=0.77), small effects on static balance (ES=0.34) and flexibility (ES=0.31), while a small effect on cardio-metabolic outcomes (ES=0.07). CONCLUSIONS: PET should be taken into account as a way to improve quality of life in the elderly, due to the imparted benefits of fall prevention, physical fitness, and mood states. In this context, physicians might include PET as a tool for exercise prescriptions for the elderly.