Falls… who is most at risk and how do we prevent them?

Published by : | January 17 2020

Unfortunately, during the winter season, falls are very frequent! Did you know that the elderly and women are the most at risk of falling and that this risk increases with the years?

The reasons for falls are varied and unique to each individual, making it a complex subject. However, by searching the terms “fall prevention” and “exercise program” on Google, most of the programs offered miss their target. They are mostly made up of balance exercises on various surfaces, with eyes open or closed, on one or two feet … It is always better to exercise rather  than doing nothing, but it could be better!

Balance is one factor amongst many involved in falls. According to several scientific studies, a factor that prevents them even more markedly is the development of strength. Strengthening the muscle groups of the trunk (the core) and lower limbs is therefore most appropriate for protecting you from slipping on a downhill slope, from stairs with an uneven step or covered in ice or from the sidewalks which turn into an ice rink.

 

Sources:

Alonso, A. C., Ribeiro, S. M., Luna, N. M. S., Peterson, M. D., Bocalini, D. S., Serra, M. M., … & Garcez-Leme, L. E. (2018). Association between handgrip strength, balance, and knee flexion/extension strength in older adults. PloS one13(6), e0198185.

Cöster, M. E., Karlsson, M., Ohlsson, C., Mellström, D., Lorentzon, M., Ribom, E., & Rosengren, B. (2018). Physical function tests predict incident falls: A prospective study of 2969 men in the Swedish Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study. Scandinavian journal of public health, 1403494818801628.

Gale, C. R., Westbury, L. D., Cooper, C., & Dennison, E. M. (2018). Risk factors for incident falls in older men and women: the English longitudinal study of ageing. BMC geriatrics18(1), 117.

Pijnappels, M., Reeves, N. D., & van Dieën, J. H. (2008). Identification of elderly fallers by muscle strength measures. European journal of applied physiology102(5), 585-592.