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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Jul;83(7):493-9.

New intervention program for preventing falls among frail elderly people: the effects of perturbed walking exercise using a bilateral separated treadmill.

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  • 1Department for Prevention of Dependence on Long-Term Care, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effects of a perturbed walking exercise using a bilateral separated treadmill in physically disabled elderly.

DESIGN:

Participants of the study were 32 long-term care facility residents and outpatients aged 66-98 yrs. Participants were randomly assigned to a usual exercise group or to a treadmill exercise group. Perturbed gait exercise on a treadmill continued for 6 mos. Number of falls and time to first fall during a 6-mo period, balance and gait functions, and reaction time were evaluated before and after intervention.

RESULTS:

The treadmill exercise group showed significant improvement in balance and reaction time when compared with the usual exercise group. Number of falls in the treadmill exercise group was 21% lower than that in the usual exercise group. However, this difference was not significant. No significant differences were seen in time to first fall.

CONCLUSIONS:

Gait training with unexpected perturbation seems to have a beneficial impact on physical function in disabled elderly individuals. The results suggest that this program may be used as an exercise intervention to reduce falls in institutional settings.

PMID:
15213472
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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