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Exercise Reduces Falls For All Age Groups

A long list of health benefits have already been associated with exercising regularly. Now a recent study has identified yet another reason to exercise; reduction in the risk of dangerous falls for males of all ages.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study. Their findings were published in the July, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data on over 10,000 participants between 20-87 years of age for the study. The initial data was acquired between 1970 and 1989 for the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study.

All of the participants filled out a detailed follow-up survey in 1990, which asked if they had fallen in the previous year, and if so, what they were doing when they fell. The participants also answered questions about how much aerobic exercise they got each week and took a treadmill test.

22% of the participants reported falling in the past year, 15% of whom fell while walking. The researchers found that women were 2.8 times more likely to fall than men while walking. However, women’s fitness levels did not appear to affect their likelihood of falling.

In contrast, fitness levels did play an important role in the risk of falling among men. Men with low fitness levels were 2.2 times more likely to fall than men with high fitness levels.

The researchers also found that while falls are the number one cause of injury among mature adults, younger people fall just as much as mature adults, but suffer fewer injuries.

The researchers concluded that people of all ages need at least two hours of regular exercise a week in order to lower the risk of falling.

The co-director at the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence at California State University agreed with the finding. He noted that exercise, and especially aerobic exercise, has continually been shown to be the best way to prevent falls in general as well as injuries due to falling.

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