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N S W Public Health Bull. 2011 Jun;22(3-4):78-83. doi: 10.1071/NB10056.

Exercise to prevent falls in older adults: an updated meta-analysis and best practice recommendations.

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  • 1Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Australia.


This systematic review update includes 54 randomised controlled trials and confirms that exercise as a single intervention can prevent falls (pooled rate ratio 0.84, 95% CI 0.77-0.91). Meta-regression revealed programs that included balance training, contained a higher dose of exercise and did not include walking training to have the greatest effect on reducing falls. We therefore recommend that exercise for falls prevention should provide a moderate or high challenge to balance and be undertaken for at least 2 hours per week on an ongoing basis. Additionally, we recommend that: falls prevention exercise should target both the general community and those at high risk for falls; exercise may be undertaken in a group or home-based setting; strength and walking training may be included in addition to balance training but high risk individuals should not be prescribed brisk walking programs; and other health-related risk factors should also be addressed.

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