Physical activity programs for balance and fall prevention in elderly: A systematic review

Ewan Thomas, Giuseppe Battaglia, Antonino Patti, Marianna Bellafiore, Vincenza Leonardi, Antonio Palma, Ewan Thomas, Antonino Patti, Giuseppe Battaglia, Jessica Brusa, Marianna Bellafiore, Vincenza Leonardi, Antonio Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND:Due to demographic changes the world's population is progressively ageing. The physiological decay of the elderly adult may lead to a reduction in the ability to balance and an increased risk of falls becoming an important issue among the elderly. In order to counteract the decay in the ability to balance, physical activity has been proven to be effective. The aim of this study is to systematically review the scientific literature in order to identify physical activity programs able to increase balance in the elderly.METHODS:This review is based on the data from Medline-NLM, Pubmed, ScienceDirect, and SPORTDiscuss and includes randomized control trials that have analyzed balance and physical activity in healthy elderly over 65 years of age during the last decade. A final number of 8 manuscripts were included in the qualitative synthesis, which comprised 200 elderly with a mean age of 75.1 ± 4.4 years. The sample size of the studies varied from 9 to 61 and the intervention periods from 8 to 32 weeks.RESULTS:Eight articles were considered eligible and included in the quantitative synthesis. The articles investigated the effects of resistance and aerobic exercise, balance training, T-bow© and wobble board training, aerobic step and stability ball training, adapted physical activity and Wii Fit training on balance outcomes. Balance measures of the studies showed improvements between 16% and 42% compared to baseline assessments.CONCLUSIONS:Balance is a multifactorial quality that can be effectively increased by different exercise training means. It is fundamental to promote physical activity in the aging adult, being that a negative effect on balance performance has been seen in the no-intervention control groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e16218-e16227
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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