Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

What Are The Best Exercises To Reduce Fall Risk?

October 12, 2020


The CDC reports one in four adults over the age of 65 have sustained a fall in the previous year. The rate of falls is expected to increase as our older American population continues to age. Consequences of falling include fracture, head injury, and a higher risk of mortality after the fall. Authors report a 30% increase in death rates from falls over the last decade and report our country can anticipate 7 fall deaths each hour by the year 2030. All falls, whether causing injury or not, cause a loss of confidence in the individual marked by an increase fear of falling, a reduction in activity levels, and increased utilization of support strategies such as grasping furniture while moving. The lasting harm in these individuals is the avoidance of activities and exercise which can improve their independence and help reduce their risk of a future fall. A recent review of the literature documents the most effective exercises for this population.

A Cochrane systematic review was recently published on the effectiveness of exercise to reduce fall risk in aging adults (Sherrington et al. 2020). Authors reviewed over 50 studies including close to 13,000 participants and found an overall 23% reduction in fall rate. Researchers reported the rate reduction was significantly greater when the exercises were prescribed by a Physical Therapist. As expected, different forms of exercise had different impacts on reducing fall rates. Balance and functional exercises reduced rates by 23%, but strength training was found to have a greater impact. Fall rates were found to be reduced by a 1/3 among participants who underwent concurrent strength and balance training.

Click Here to learn which exercises are best to reduce your fall risk