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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1303-1313. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001942.

Physical Activity, Injurious Falls, and Physical Function in Aging: An Umbrella Review.

Author information

1
Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.
2
Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
3
Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL.
4
Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
5
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
6
ICF, Fairfax, VA.
7
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To review and update the evidence of the relationship between physical activity, risk of fall-related injury, and physical function in community-dwelling older people that was presented in the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report (PAGAC Report).

METHODS:

Duplicate independent screenings of 1415 systematic reviews and meta-analyses published between 2006 and 2016 identified from PubMed®, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases yielded 111 articles used for the PAGAC Report. The PAGAC Aging Subcommittee members graded scientific evidence strength based upon a five-criteria rubric and assigned one of four grades: strong, moderate, limited, or not assignable. An updated search of 368 articles published between January 2017 and March 2018 yielded 35 additional pertinent articles.

RESULTS:

Strong evidence demonstrated that physical activity reduced the risk of fall-related injuries by 32% to 40%, including severe falls requiring medical care or hospitalization. Strong evidence also supported that physical activity improved physical function and reduced the risk of age-related loss of physical function in an inverse graded manner among the general aging population, and improved physical function in older people with frailty and with Parkinson's disease. Aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and/or multicomponent physical activity programs elicited the largest improvements in physical function in these same populations. Moderate evidence indicated that for older adults who sustained a hip fracture or stroke, extended exercise programs and mobility-oriented physical activity improved physical function.

CONCLUSIONS:

Regular physical activity effectively helps older adults improve or delay the loss of physical function and mobility while reducing the risk of fall-related injuries. These important public health benefits underscore the importance of physical activity among older adults, especially those living with declining physical function and chronic health conditions.

PMID:
31095087
PMCID:
PMC6527126
[Available on 2020-06-01]
DOI:
10.1249/MSS.0000000000001942
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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