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Balance exercises in older adults: variables and effects

Does frequency, type, time and duration of balance exercise explain the effects seen in older adults?

This systematic review found significant heterogeneity in the observed effects of balance exercise interventions.

The authors discovered that exercise frequency, type, and time, as well as program duration, were not predictive of the effects on balance in older adults. Whether exercise intensity may explain these effects remains unclear.

Therefore, current evidence does not yet provide an adequate explanation of the observed benefits of these interventions.

No significant associations were found between individual exercise variables and the standardised mean difference of study effects. Center of mass control exercise types were found to explain only 2.14% of the variance in balance outcomes.

While balance exercise is effective at improving balance performance, there is no clear evidence of which specific exercise frequency, time, or duration is associated with positive effects.

> From: Farlie et al., Br J Sports Med 53 (2019) 996-1002 . All rights reserved to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Expert opinion by José Pedro Correia

This systematic review shows us that traditional exercise variables seem to not explain why balance exercise interventions are effective in the elderly.

Other measures should be sought to determine the efficacy of these interventions and optimise fall prevention outcomes in this population, since current approaches do not seem to be sufficient.

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