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Does aquatic exercise improve commonly reported predisposing risk factors to falls within the elderly? A systematic review.

Martinez-Carbonell Guillamon, E., Burgess, L., Immins, T., Martínez-Almagro Andreo, A. and Wainwright, T., 2019. Does aquatic exercise improve commonly reported predisposing risk factors to falls within the elderly? A systematic review. BMC Geriatrics, 19, 52.

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DOI: 10.1186/s12877-019-1065-7


Background According to the World Health Organization, the elderly are at the highest risk of injury or death from a fall. Age-related changes in strength, balance and flexibility are degenerative factors that may increase the risk of falling, and an aquatic training may offer a favourable environment to improve these modifiable risk factors. Methods A systematic review was conducted to assess the potential preventative role of aquatic exercise for reducing the risk of falls in the elderly by improving predisposing risk factors. Electronic databases and reference lists of pertinent articles published between 2005 and 2018 were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that directly or indirectly addressed the effect of aquatic exercise for the prevention of falls in healthy participants were included within the synthesis. Studies were included if they were reported between January 2005 and May 2018 within a population aged between 60 and 90 years old that were without exercise-effecting comorbidities. Data related to participant demographics, study design, methodology, interventions and outcomes was extracted by one reviewer. Methodological quality assessment was independently performed by two reviewers using the PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database) scale. Results Fourteen trials met the inclusion criteria. Exercise intervention duration and frequency varied from 2 to 24 weeks, from 2 to 3 times per week, from 40 to 90 min per session. Fall rate was not reported in any of the studies analysed. However, aquatic exercise improved key predisposing physical fitness components that are modifiable and internal risk factors for falling. Conclusions There is limited, low-quality evidence to support the use of aquatic exercise for improving physiological components that are risk factors for falling. Although the evidence is limited, and many interventions are not well described, these results should be considered by health and exercise professionals when making evidence-based, clinical decisions regarding training programmes to reduce the risk of falling.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Elderly, Aquatic exercise, Magnitude of load, Fall prevention
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:31871
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Feb 2019 14:29
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:14


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