Long-term follow-up of exercise interventions aimed at preventing falls in older people living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. There is limited evidence on long-term implications of participating in a fall prevention exercise program.
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As individuals age, they tend to be less active. This is concerning, particularly when examining the triadic relationship between aging, inactivity, and risk of falling (1,2). Therefore, it is important that physical therapists are able to identify and address modifiable risk factors for falling, including lack of physical activity, gait and balance limitations, and strength impairments (2). One way to address these risk factors are appropriately dosed exercise programs (see Table 1 for exercise prescription guidelines (3,4)).


However, it is important to note that the evidence that supports exercise prescription for fall prevention comes from publications that have a short follow-up period (< 12 months), and there is a lack of research on long-term effects. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to determine whether there was evidence for the long-term effect of exercise interventions on preventing falls in community-dwelling older adults.

There is a triadic relationship between aging, inactivity, and risk of falling.
Exercise interventions for fall prevention have sustained benefits on fall reduction over time, particularly with longer intervention periods.


Study Design: Systematic review based on PRISMA guidelines. Data Sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, psycINFO, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) and Cochrane Library from inception to April 2017. Study Selection: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort studies or secondary analyses of

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