Long-term exercise programs linked to reduced fall risk

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Published: March, 2019

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You probably know that exercise can help you maintain your balance and prevent falls, which are among the top causes of injury and death among older adults. But if you're worried that being active will wind up increasing your risk of getting hurt, a large study may put your fears to rest. The research, published online Dec. 28, 2018, by JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed 40 randomized trials that included about 22,000 older adults. People who exercised for one year or more had a 12% relative reduction in falls and a 26% relative reduction in falls with injury, compared with people who didn't exercise. Also: exercising long-term was not associated with an increase in the rate of hospitalization or death (though it wasn't linked to a reduction, either). Researchers didn't determine which kind of exercise was best. However, the most benefits were seen when people exercised three times per week, 50 minutes per session, in programs that included several components, such as balance exercises, strength training for the lower limbs, and aerobic exercise (the kind that gets your heart and lungs pumping, like brisk walking).

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