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25.09.12

Liverpool study on exercise reducing risk of elderly falls

Community-based exercise programmes can cut the risk of older people falling and increase their physical fitness in the long-term, new research shows.

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust has published the results of a study into the effectiveness of low-cost exercise programmes to reduce the likelihood of falls in the over-65s.

Conducted with Liverpool John Moores University, a year-long study evaluated the effects of the trust’s Liveability service, which promotes health and independence for older people.

At present the incidence rate of hip fracture in the over-65s is significantly worse in Liverpool at 476 cases per year compared to the national average of 458. Over-65s are more likely to fall, with 30% falling at least once a year.

The study found that participation in gym-type activities on strength, flexibility and balance reduced the risk of falls and motivated participants to be more active. There was a 41% increase in physical activity immediately after the programme, 17% saw a reduced risk of falling and physical fitness was improved by 59%. After six months there was an 80% improvement in the group’s physical fitness.

Diane Singleton, Liveability service lead said: “Clearly this is an extremely important area of research, particularly when you also consider our rapidly ageing population and the growing challenges that this poses for local health services.”

Bernie Cuthel, chief executive of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust added: “As these latest research findings highlight, even just a small increase in activity levels can make a dramatic difference to someone’s overall health and wellbeing – especially in older age.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

Mr Butts   08/11/2012 at 21:22

how many people fall down the stairs per year

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