Exercise Improves Balance As We Age . . .
With age, balance disorders become more common and the risk of falls, the main cause of accidental death in the elderly, increases. But a new
French study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that
men and women over the age of 60 who exercise regularly and/or are involved
in sports activities have better balance and are less likely to fall than
those who do not exercise. Does starting to exercise late in life do any
good? The researchers say yes. They divided 65 men and women over age 60
into four groups: those who had always exercised; those who became
physically active after retirement; those who had been physically active in
youth but stopped at least 30 years before; and couch potatoes who had
always been inactive. Participants were evaluated for postural control (body
sway) and decline of body sway (sway path). The sway path was smaller in
seniors who exercised regularly, but there was little difference between
those who began exercising after retirement and those who had never stopped.