Active and Fit Seniors do not have a lower risk of falling, Study Finds
Seniors who are more active and fit than their fellow peers do not have a reduced risk of falling, a new study concluded.
For this study, the team of researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology examined the relationship between the number of hours that older individuals exercised and their performance scores on four balance tests. The team, headed by Annelise Dyrli, recruited 41 participants who were between the ages of 65 and 88. The sample set was considered to be fitter than the average group of older adults.
All of the participants went through four balance exercises as well as the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), which includes several more tests. The BBS can be used to predict a person's future risk of falling. It is also typically used in patients who had experienced a fall.
The researchers found that people who exercised the most performed very well on the BBS. Overall, however, the team did not find a relationship between physical activity level and performance on the four balance tests. This meant that people who were more fit did not perform better on the balance tests than people who were less fit.
The team concluded that as people age, balance is negatively affected regardless of fitness level, especially if balance is also being impaired by medications. Since falls can be extremely detrimental in seniors, the researchers stressed the importance of working on particular skills that can help with balance as oppose to overall fitness.
The researchers added that investigating the types of training that can help improve balance could be beneficial.
The study was provided by the University via Medical Xpress.