Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A reminder - old people need strength

It is a theme that I've  had on here before - the importance of basic strength as people get older.  Balance is sometimes promoted as key to preventing falls in the elderly but sometimes the issue is not balance but strength.

Here is a new study that highlights this principle:

(Full paper)

ObjectiveTo assess the effect of lower limb strength on falls and balance in community-dwelling elderly persons by a health status questionnaire, evaluation of lower limb strength and balance.
MethodA total of 86 subjects (age 69.8±5.3) were categorized into one of two groups, "Fallers" and "Non-fallers". Thirty one participants who had reported the experience of having fallen unexpectedly at least once in the past year were assigned into the group "Fallers", and the remaining 55 subjects having no fall history in the past year, "Non-fallers". A self-assessment questionnaire was taken. Lower limb strength was measured by a "Chair stand test". Balance was measured by the stability index of the fall risk test protocol of Balance System SD® (Biodex, New York, USA). The differences between the two groups were compared and the correlation between lower limb strength and balance were analyzed.
ResultsThe questionnaire demonstrated no significant differences between two groups. The "Chair stand test" showed a significantly less for the "Fallers" (p<0.05). The stability index was significantly greater in the "Fallers" group (p<0.05). There was a moderate negative correlation between the "Chair stand test" and the "Stability index" (R=-0.576, p<0.01).
ConclusionThis study suggests that the "Chair stand test" is a useful screening process for lower limb strength which correlates to risk for falls and balance in the elderly.

Even something very basic and simple like the approach in Hillfit, could have a big impact on the function and safety of older people.

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