Monthly Archives: April 2017

Evidence-Based Exercise Prescription for Balance and Falls Prevention: A Current Review of the Literature

by Tiffany E. Shubert, MPT, PhD


The current best practices for physical therapists to effectively improve balance and manage fall risk in patients are those that incorporate a structured, progressing, individually tailored exercise program that meets the optimal exercise dose. These interventions need to continue even after discharge from physical therapy and therefore a continuum of care approach is needed in order to maintain progress, continue to improve upon their abilities, sustain meaningful and permanent changes in risk factors, and ultimately reduce falls risk.

Year study was published: 2011

Mean age of participants in study: N/A

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Exercise to Prevent Falls in Older Adults: An Updated Meta-Analysis and Best Practice Recommendations

by Catherine Sherrington, Anne Tiedemann, Nicola Fairhall, Jacqueline C.T. Close and Stephen R. Lord


This updated systematic review compiled data from 99 comparisons from 88 randomized controlled trials, totaling 19,478 participants, looking at exercise as a single intervention to prevent falls. They concluded that exercise for falls prevention at least three (3) hours per week showed the greatest effects and should be targeted at both the general community as well as those at high risk of falls and may occur in both a group or home-based setting. The exercise programs should include: moderate to high challenges to balance as well as strength training, a sufficient dose of exercise, exercise needs to be ongoing, and should include a brisk walking training, unless they are a high risk falls individual.

Year study was published: 2017

Mean age of participants in study: 65+ years old

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Can Social Dancing Prevent Falls in Older Adults? A Protocol of the Dance, Aging, Cognition, Economics (DAnCE) Fall Prevention Randomized Controlled Trial

by Dafna Merom, Robert Cumming, Erin Mathieu, Kaarin J Anstey, Chris Rissel, Judy M Simpson, Rachael L Morton, Ester Cerin, Catherine Sherrington and Stephen R Lord


In this Australian study they are determining whether participation in social dancing will: reduce the number of falls and improve cognitive functions associated with fall risk in older people. Participants in the study completed 80 hours of dance classes (either Folk or ballroom dancing) during a 12 month period – classes were an hour long and met twice a week. The researchers concluded dance offers a novel approach to balance training and offers greater social engagement, which is a major contribution to healthy aging.

Year study was published: 2013

Mean age of participants in study: ??

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Balance Confidence and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Are Most Predictive of Falling in Older Adults

by Merrill R. Landers, Sarrie Oscar, Jessica Sasoka & Kyle Vaughn


Physical-based measures (Berg Balance Scale, Sensory Organization Test, Timed “Up & Go”, and Dynamic Gait Index) as well as psychological-based measures (Falls Efficacy Scale, Activity Specific Balance Confidence Scale, and Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Questionnaire) were assessed during this study to determine which variable(s) were most predictive of falls in older adults. The results of this study concluded that balance confidence was the best predictor of falling, followed by fear of falling avoidance behavior, and the Time “Up & Go” (TUG). Fall history, presence of pathology, and physical tests did not predict falling. The study also concluded that psychological factors (balance confidence and fear avoidance) were stronger predictors of future falls than physical factors (gait, balance, visual acuity, etc.)

Year study was published: 2018

Mean age of participants in study: 72.2 years

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Ballroom Dance: Linking Serious Leisure to Successful Aging

by Regena G. Stevens-Ratchford


This qualitative research design explored stories of ballroom dance participants to gain an understanding of the participants’ experiences and the relation between ballroom dance and successful aging using the Successful Aging Profile (SAP). The mean years of dancing experience was 38 years including engagement in waltz, fox trot, swing, tango, rumba, samba, salsa, and cha-cha. Researchers found that the sample they interviewed all reported positive successful aging including high function and positive well-being. The main aspect of ballroom dance that fosters successful aging is the inclusion of physical activity that these individuals are interested in.

Year study was published: 2016

Mean age of participants in study: 68 years old

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