Physical exercise in preventing falls in the elderly
In the last half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries there has been an increase in average life expectancy (UN DESA, 2015) and thus an increase in the elderly population. Currently, in this population, falls and their consequences are one of the major public health problems, so it is extremely important to investigate intervention strategies to reduce the risk of falls.
Epidemiology of falls:
In the world
They fall 2 to 4 times a year: (WHO, 2007)
• 28-35% people + 65 years old;
• 32-42% people + 70 years old.
20-30% of cases of falls lead to severe injuries such as: (Harnish et al., 2016)
• hip fracture;
• Head injuries;
• Upper limb injuries.
More than 50% of fall hospitalizations are from people over 65 years. In addition to these consequences, falls lead to:
• Loss of independence / autonomy;
20.8% of the population is over 65, and by the year 2050 a percentage of 29.2% is expected. (UN DESA, 2015).
The main factors that influence the occurrence of falls are: Higher number of previous falls; Reduction of muscle strength; Balance changes; Decreased vision Medication intake; Gait difficulties and depression. (Tinetti, M. & Kumar, C., 2010).
There is scientific evidence to prove that combined strength, gait, balance and endurance exercises reduce the rate of fall. (Tinetti, M. & Kumar, C., 2010).
In short, with the increase in life expectancy, falls and their consequences are a problem to be avoided. Thus, the help of a personal trainer who implements appropriate exercise proposals, acting in a preventive manner, is essential.
Text Ana Rita Cativo
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision.
WHO Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age. (2007) Ageing and Life Course Family and Community Health World Health Organization. Switzerland
Tinetti, M., Kumar, C. (2010) The Patient Who Falls: “It’s Always a Trade-off”.
Harnish, A., Dieter, W., Crawford, A., Shubert, T. (2016). Effects of EvidenceBased Fall Reduction Programing on the Functional Wellness of Older Adults in a Senior Living Community: A Clinical Case Study. Frontiers in Public Health.