After a hard fall, some people can get right up and carry on with their day. For older adults, though, a fall can be much worse, resulting in broken bones, head trauma and even death. As winter approaches, the elderly are even more susceptible to fall and injury; that’s why it is important to stay current with fall prevention programs. Previous studies have reported that exercise with resistance training and aerobic exercise improves fitness, body composition, endurance, equilibrium and gait function. Researchers recently investigated the effect of an exercise intervention on the balance ability and muscle function of elderly women in order to test the efficacy of these protocols.
Fall prevention exercise program
Over the course of eight weeks, the subjects participated in a resistance program using elastic resistance. Exercising for 40 minutes four days a week, the subjects performed the exercises, moving through a variety of stages as the patient improved physical fitness. Once the program was over, leg muscular strength and endurance as well as balance were measured using three tests:
- One-leg stand (with eyes open)
The sit-to-stand test measured leg muscle strength. The test proved that leg strength increased significantly after the intervention compared to before the intervention (Lee et. al 2015). As for leg muscle endurance, the knees-up test showed that there was a significant increase in endurance in the exercise group after the intervention compared to the baseline measurements. Balance was measured by the one-leg stand test. Following the theme of success, balance, too, saw a significant increase after the intervention compared to the baseline.
The results of this study confirmed that elastic resistance training is effective for improving muscular strength, endurance and balance in older adults. More so, the researchers concluded that elastic band exercise influences whole body function factors such as flexibility and dexterity.
Lee HC et al. 2016. Effects of exercise performance by elderly women on balance ability and muscle function. J Phys Ther Sci 27 (4):989-92