Every year, an estimated one-third of adults 65 and older experience a fall and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such incidents are the leading cause of injury-related death among the senior population. Despite the issues associated with falls, there are a number of ways to prevent them, and one of the most popular options - exercise - may help seniors avoid injury should they fall, according to a recent study published on bmj.com.
The study relied on an analysis of 17 previously conducted trials that included nearly 4,200 people. Each trial's participants followed a specific exercise regimen including tai chi, as well as gait, balance and functional training. There were also strength and resistance exercises included in most of the studies. Researchers found that regardless of the type of exercise, it tended to have positive impact on the number of falls resulting in medical treatment, fractures or other injuries.
"[The results suggest that] reducing the risk of falling and improving protective responses during a fall may be an important and feasible means of preventing fractures and other serious injuries in the elderly," the authors wrote.
While exercise can certainly play a substantial role in reducing falls and injuries, there are some other steps seniors can take to ensure they are following a path toward healthy aging. Specifically, they can make some changes around their home to lessen their chances of falling and getting hurt. The CDC recommends making sure that furniture is placed so that there are clear pathways for older adults to get around. Additionally, taping down any wires, removing clutter and installing devices such as grab bars and improved lighting can lower the risk even further.