For many the increase of daily activity is a lot more appealing to implement as opposed to structured exercise regimens. The only question though, is an increase in daily activity as beneficial as a more structured approach?
The answer to that question when looking to reduce falls in ageing populations appears to be a resounding yes according to a recent study! An experiment conducted in 2012 (Clemson et al, 2012) took 107 adults and implemented activities such as single leg holds, side-walks and toe raises into daily life and compared results to a group performing basic balance and strengthening exercises, and also a control group performing gentle exercise.
Results focused primarily on fall frequency in all groups but also on secondary measures such as balance, strength, self-efficacy and adherence. Findings demonstrated that implemented activity such as standing from a chair on a more regular basis, or performing toe raises whilst waiting for the kettle to boil significantly reduced fall frequency and demonstrated excellent adherence throughout the 6 month trial period.
The consequences of falls in elderly populations can be drastic. The use of telecare and mHealth has provided partial solutions developing technologies to alert of falls in populations at risk thus reducing potential negative consequences. However although technology provides significant improvement in response to falls, strategies to reduce the likelihood of falls is certainly of huge importance. I’d much rather not fall down in the first place than wait until someone comes to pick me back up again.
Based on these findings it appears that one can not only match the benefits of structured activity, but can in some cases surpass these benefits with a greater likelihood of individuals to stick to such a program of implementation.
Jack Barton (Researcher, Rescon Ltd)
Clemson, L., Fiatarone Singh, M. A., Bundy, A., Cumming, R. G., Manollaras, K. et al. (2012). Integration of balance and strength training into daily life activity to reduce rate of falls in older people (the LiFE study): randomised parallel trial. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 345.