As senior care providers consider new ways to reduce hospitalization-infucing falls within their communities, new research suggests that one specific type of exercise is proving to have more success in fall prevention than others: swimming.
One in three U.S. adults 65 and older experience a fall in a given year, and the consequences can include broken bones, head trauma and other severe injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And even less serious falls can lower people’s mobility.
Researchers in Australia looked at about 1,700 men age 70 and older, and compared the types of exercise they did with their likelihood of experiencing a fall over a four-year period, reports The Washington Post in a recent article. There were nearly 2,700 falls during the study.
The 88 men in the study who swam were 33% less likely to fall compared with all other men in the study, The Washington Post says, adding that “in contrast, men who did other forms of exercise — including golfing, doing calisthenics, working out on treadmills or stationary bikes — were no less likely to fall.”
Swimmers also did better on a test of postural sway, or a test of standing balance.
“Unlike [with] land-based sports, swimmers are required to create their own base of support and, at the same time, to produce a coordinated movement of both upper and lower extremities,” study author Dafna Merom, an associate professor of physical activity and health at the University of Western Sydney, tells The Washington Post.
The most common form of exercise that older adults engage in is walking, but studies have shown that walking does not lower the risk of falls, study authors say.
Read the article here.
Written by Cassandra Dowell