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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 22(4)

Exercise to prevent falls in older adults: an updated meta-analysis and best practice recommendations

Catherine Sherrington A B E, Anne Tiedemann A B, Nicola Fairhall A C, Jacqueline C.T. Close B D and Stephen R. Lord B

A Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney
B Falls and Balance Research Group, Neuroscience Research Australia, The University of New South Wales
C Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney
D Prince of Wales Hospital Clinical School, The University of New South Wales
E Corresponding author. Email: csherrington@georgeinstitute.org.au

NSW Public Health Bulletin 22(4) 78-83 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/NB10056
Published: 2 June 2011

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This systematic review update includes 54 randomised controlled trials and confirms that exercise as a single intervention can prevent falls (pooled rate ratio 0.84, 95% CI 0.77–0.91). Meta-regression revealed programs that included balance training, contained a higher dose of exercise and did not include walking training to have the greatest effect on reducing falls. We therefore recommend that exercise for falls prevention should provide a moderate or high challenge to balance and be undertaken for at least 2 hours per week on an ongoing basis. Additionally, we recommend that: falls prevention exercise should target both the general community and those at high risk for falls; exercise may be undertaken in a group or home-based setting; strength and walking training may be included in addition to balance training but high risk individuals should not be prescribed brisk walking programs; and other health-related risk factors should also be addressed.


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