An Experimental Study of the Physical Exercise Intervention on Older Adults Fall Prevention

Introduction:Falls have become one of the common accidents among the elders aged 65 and older.In 2013,one third of the older adults falls each year(Tromp et al.,2001),which leads to 2.5 million and 734000 older patients treated in emergency department and were hospitalized,respectively,in US(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,2013).In addition,the fall-related death among older adults had increased dramatically during the past decade.For,example,in the year of 2011,approximately 22900 older adults died from fall accidents(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,2013).Thus,it is urgent to design interventions to decrease fall rates among older adults.

Purpose and Methods:The purpose of this paper was to develop one set of physical exercise based on the theory of core-strength training to prevent the older adults from falling.The study tested the effects of this physical exercise through a 12-week intervention.The participants included 56 older adults aged 60-70 year old who were put into either experimental(N=30)or control(N=26)group.The measurement included 11 fitness components assessing muscular strength/endurance,static/dynamic balance,agility,moving ability,and flexibility.The participants were measured on these 11 fitness components for four times including before,during(the 4th and 8th week),and after the intervention.A 2(pre experiment)X 2(experimental vs.control group)repeated measure MANOVA was conducted to examine the effects of the intervention as well as the difference between experimental and control groups.

Results and Discussion:The results found interactions between within group×between group and all the fitness components(p<.01).In addition,the study found significant improvements in the post-test(12-week)for all the fitness components in the experimental group(P<.01).One way MANOVA was conducted to examine the differences among pre-experiment,after 4thweek,after 8th week,and after 12th week.Results showed that it was only between 4th and 8th week that all the fitness components had significant improvements.However,no significant difference was observed in static balance test,agility,and flexibility tests.Conclusion:1)the 12-week core-strength-training based physical exercise could significantly improve the older adults’balance and core strength muscular strength/endurance abilities,which might prevent the older adults from falling.2)The middle period of the intervention may be more important in enhancing various physical abilities for the older adults.

Key words:the older adults;intervention;core-strength-training;physical exercise