University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Does Life-span Achievement of Current Physical Activity Recommendations Reduce the Likelihood of Falling? (Abstract)

Wright, Rachel, Robinson, Paul D. and Peters, D.M. ORCID: (2007) Does Life-span Achievement of Current Physical Activity Recommendations Reduce the Likelihood of Falling? (Abstract). Journal of Sports Sciences, 25 (3). p. 285. ISSN 1466-447X

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While some training studies have identified that
walking increases strength and reduces functional
limitations in older adults, others have identified that
aerobic physical activity is ineffective in preventing
loss of muscle strength associated with ageing
(Harridge et al., 1997: Aging, 9, 80 – 87). As muscle
weakness in the legs has been found to be predictive
of falls, this would appear to be problematic for
aerobic-based physical activity recommendations for
the prevention of falls.
The purpose of this study was to identify whether
‘‘fallers’’ and ‘‘non-fallers’’ demonstrated significantly
different levels of attainment of the current
physical activity recommendations over the life
course. Self-report lifetime physical activity was
obtained through estimation of how many days per
week an individual accumulated 30 min or more of
at least moderate-intensity physical activity during
each decade of their adult life. A fall was identified as
a loss of balance resulting in the body, or part of the
body, coming to rest on the ground. Ethical approval
was granted through institutional procedures undertaken
at departmental level.
The participants were 74 males (mean age 71.7
years, s¼7.4) and 228 females (mean age 71.0 years,
s¼7.5; range 54 – 94) with 72% indicating that they
had experienced a fall. Differences between the sexes
were apparent for the number of days active in their
thirties (females: mean 6.41 days, s¼1.98; males:
mean 5.73 days, s¼2.01 days; t308¼2.56,
P50.05). Independent samples t-tests showed that
while ‘fallers’ (mean 4.75 days, s¼2.15) were
currently less active than ‘‘non-fallers’’ (mean 5.43
days, s¼2.03; t305¼2.52, P50.05), there was no
significant difference in the number of days on which
they had performed 30 min or more of moderateintensity
physical activity in any of the decades throughout the life-span. When participants were
then classified as either active or inactive in relation
to achieving 5630 min per week, chi-square tests
revealed no differences in proportional attainment of
the recommended amounts of physical activity in
fallers and non-fallers in any decade.
Although demonstrating a progressive decline in
physical activity through the decades, the sample was
more active than the current population in each
decade, with the majority attaining recommended
amounts of physical activity into their seventies.
Attainment of current physical activity guidelines
throughout the life-span would not appear to reduce
the likelihood of falling and would suggest that
strength-based physical activity recommendations
may be needed in addition to the current general
health guidelines if the number of falls in older adults
is to be significantly reduced.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Abstract of a paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences,University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, 11 – 13 September, 2007.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: physical activity, falling, life-span, ageing
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2010 11:22
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:53

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