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Falls

Prevention

Regular physical activity is the only thing repeatedly shown to prevent frailty, reverse muscle wasting and improve physical function (Landi 2014).

Being physically active also strengthens bones and reduces the risk of hip fracture by up to 68% (Cochrane 2012; SASA)

A single course of exercise can reduce your chance of falling by 14% (Sherrington 2011).

By combining regular exercise with specific work on strength, balance and confidence on your feet, you chance of falling can be reduced by up to 29% (Cochrane 2013).

Treatment

Contrary to popular opinion, the muscles of old people respond just as well to exercise and strength training as the muscles of younger individuals (Landi 2014).

If you can’t stand up without using your arms to help you, you need to exercise more to improve the strength of your leg muscles.

Comparisons

Alendronate, a common medicine used to strengthen bones, reduces hip fracture rates by 38% - far less than exercise, which reduces rates by up to 68% (Jacques 2012)

Advice

Do challenging balance exercises daily; Tai Chi is a great way to achieve this (ACSM 2009)

Take care if doing activities involving fast movements or changes in direction, especially on hard or slippery surfaces; wearing grippy shoes can help reduce your chance of slipping too (Giangregorio 2015)

If you have fallen in the past or feel unsteady on your feet, try safe forms of exercise first, such as seated exercise or a static bike in the gym. If you find it hard to do this you can start with exercises in your bed (Peterson 2010; Montero-Fernandez 2013).

Working on your strength for just two hours per week can make the difference (Sherrington 2011).

Further resources for Healthcare Professionals

Motivate to Move – Musculoskeletal Health