According to a report which will be appearing online today, a music based exercise program for the elderly possibly improves gait (walking manner), balance and declines the amount of falls. The study will be printed in the issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, March 28th.
Among persons 65 years old and older, each year one-third will have had a fall, and half of those will have repeated falls.
Dr. Andrea Trombetti at the University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, Switzerland, states that exercise can prevent main risk factors for falls which include poor balance and eventually decrease risk in falling among the elderly community.
A large percentage of these falls happen during walking. Dr. Trombetti and associates administered a randomized controlled trail for a span of six months of music based multitask exercise program to conclude if this type of program could bring improvements to walking, balance and decrease in the number of falls among the community. The study consisted of 134 adults aged older than 65 and at risk for increased falls. The average age range among participants was 75.5 years old and 96 were women.
In the study, participants were randomly given either a music based multitask exercise program or delayed intervention control group. In the first six months the intervention group had a one hour weekly exercise program conducted by an instructor. The class emphasized multitask exercises which included movements in which tested the body’s control balance system. This slowly become difficult in more time. The exercises had included walking in sync to piano music, and response to changes made in the music. In the next six months, the control group had taken part in the same exercise program. The intervention group during that time resumed normal activity routines.
The results showed overall balance and functional tests had improved in the intervention group compared to the control group. The rate of falls decreased in the intervention group along with a decreased rate of falling. Among the intervention group there were 24 falls where compared to the control group who had 54 falls. The control group did show similar changes during the second six month period when they were enrolled in the exercise program.
Researchers discovered that when doing one task at a time, the adults in the intervention group shown an increase in normal walking speed compared to the control group. Time in stride also showed improvements. When multitasking, the adults in the intervention group had increased stride length and declined length variances compared to the control group. The benefit of intervention on walking changes was still seen six months later.
The study had shown that participation in multitask exercise classes once a week for six months can improve walking performance under single and cognitive motor and dual task conditions. It will improve balance and decrease rate of falls and risks of falls among the elderly. The researchers state their evidence could be helpful for fall prevention and rehabilitation in the community based centers such as senior centers.
Exercises for fall prevention
Yoga programs geared to the elderly can aide in fall prevention. Researchers in April 2008 from the School of Podiatric Medicine and College of Health Professionals, findings suggest that yoga can improve balance and stability and aide in the prevention for risk of falls.
Science has demonstrated that Tai Chi has shown positive results to improve balance and reduce falls in the elderly. Two one hour classes a week demonstrated improved results with a twelve week period.
Used to decrease pain such as from arthritis and osteoarthritis where the pain is severe enough to become overwhelming and cause falls.
Acupuncture treatments are geared to the individuals. After several treatments acupuncture has been demonstrated to relieve the pain, increase mobility and decrease falls. Treatments are usually five to thirty minutes twice a week.
Seniors have shown a vast range of benefits from chiropractic care. Benefits include pain relief, increase range of motion, balance and coordination, decrease joint degeneration, increases overall health and quality of life along with decreased falls and injuries.
Seniors who receive regular chiropractic care have increased range of motion in both the limbs and spine. This enables them to do activities that once were prevented. Most senior notice an improvement in balance and coordination right after treatment. Chiropractic care on a regular basis aides seniors with daily living and even helps so they will not hopefully need senior centers.
Vitamin D has been proven in scientific studies to reduce the risks of fractures in the elderly. Daily doses of 400 to 600 IU units a day is recommended.Sources:
Medical News Today
Medical News Today 2008
Acupuncture and TCM
Senior Citizens Guide