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Working on balance and strength helps prevent a second fall

Older woman exercising in an outdoor setting.

June 26, 2019 —Falls are the third most common cause of chronic disability in older adults. A new Canadian clinical trial suggests that those who have fallen could reduce their risk of falling again with a home-based exercise program.

The study included more than 340 seniors enrolled between 2009 and 2017. All had fallen within the past year and were attending a fall prevention clinic. Participants had an average age of 82, and 67% were women.

How the study worked

Participants were split into two groups. One group had what's considered standard care after a fall. This might include medicine and lifestyle changes and referral to healthcare specialists.

The second group received standard care plus a home-based exercise program led by a physical therapist. Strengthening exercises targeted the muscles of the knees, hips and ankles. Balance activities included walking exercises, standing on one leg and moving from sitting to standing.

What the study found

After a fall, researchers tracked the seniors for a year. The trial, published in JAMA, found that those in the home exercise group had a lower chance of falling again. Fall rates also increased over time for those in the standard care group. Read the full study.

5 exercises to stay on your feet

If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, these balance exercises might help you reduce your risk of falls.

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