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Older adults fall less if they exercise, study says

By
Tauren Dyson
Older adults should walk, perform other aerobic exercise, do balance or strength training for the lower limbs two to three times a week. Photo courtesy Shutterstock/UPI/Image Point Fr
Older adults should walk, perform other aerobic exercise, do balance or strength training for the lower limbs two to three times a week. Photo courtesy Shutterstock/UPI/Image Point Fr

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Exercise may be able to save older adults from taking costly spills, new research says.

A study, published Friday in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that in 40 randomized trials exercise significantly decreased the risk of falling or suffering an injury while falling in 21, 868 participants.

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"Exercise training is an intervention of utmost importance for older adults' health leading to benefits on multiple systems and functions, including muscle and bone health, the cardiometabolic system, as well as physical and potentially cognitive functions," the study read.

While exercise didn't decrease the risk of falling multiple times, as well as hospitalization and mortality if they did fall, it's still an important activity for older adults.

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The Council on Aging says that one in four people in the U.S. over age 65 fall annually. The organization says it is the leading cause of fatal injuries for older adults. They are the most common cause of hospital admissions for older adults, resulting in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency rooms each year.

Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 27,000 deaths.

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In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries hit $50 billion, 75 percent of which was passed along to Medicare and Medicaid.

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Some expect the financial burden for falls among the elderly to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

To avoid these outcomes, the study researchers recommend walking and other aerobic exercises or performing balance or strength training for the lower limbs. Older people should exercise two to three times a week, at 50-minute intervals.

"Long-term exercise is associated with a reduction in falls, injurious falls, and probably fractures in older adults, including people with cardiometabolic and neurological diseases,"

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