Comparative study of physical fitness in elderly fallers and non-fallers

The elderly population is prone to falls, which can have severe consequences, including hospitalization or mortality. Numerous factors can contribute to falls in older adults, including health conditions, medication use, environmental hazards, poor nutrition, and insufficient physical activity. Specifically, insufficient exercise and physical activity can lead to reduced flexibility, weakness, and poor balance, which are significant risk factors for falls. To prevent falls in older adults, it is crucial to recognize and manage these factors. The aim of this study was to compare the functional fitness levels of older adults who were at risk of falling with those who were not. The study recruited 190 independent adults aged 65 years or older and determined their fall risk status using a fall risk assessment scale. Thirty-three of them were identified as being at risk of falling. The Senior Fitness Test, which included six tests for strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance, was used to assess the participants’ functional fitness. The results revealed significant differences in functional fitness between the two groups, with those at risk of falling scoring lower, particularly in agility, dynamic balance, and aerobic endurance tests. The researchers identified the Timed up and go (TUG) test and the 2-minute step test as the most effective predictors of fall risk. The study concludes that targeted interventions to enhance agility and endurance may benefit older adults who are at risk of falling due to their lower functional fitness levels.

F. Papanikolaou, E. Kouli, A. Gkrekidis, A. Kanavaki, P. Manaveli, D. Menychtas, E. Douda, I. Smilios, Μ. Michalopoulou, V. Gourgoulis, G. Sirakoulis, N. Aggelousis

31st International Congress on Physical Education & Sport Science
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