To evaluate the efficacy of a program on the basis of balance exercises on gait, balance, functional mobility, fear of falling, and falls in prefrail older women at risk of falling.
Thirty older women were randomly distributed for an experimental (EG) or a control group (CG). Assessments were performed of gait (GAITRite), balance, and functional mobility with the sit-to-stand, semitandem and alternate step tests, fear of falling, and occurrence of falls. The EG performed progressive exercises, which challenged balance in different tasks and environment conditions. The CG practiced exercises for the upper limbs.
The mixed analysis of variance with repeated measures revealed significant interactions that showed increase in stride speed and length, better performance in the tests of balance and mobility, and reduced fear of falling. The EG showed fewer falls (P = .029) during the period of intervention than did the CG. The number necessary to treat ranged from 1 to 3.8.
The results reinforce the importance of including exercises that challenge balance, in high doses and progressive intensity, in programs designed for older women.
Faculdade Ciências Médicas, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Dr Arantes); Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Drs Dias, Pereira, and Dias), Municipal Administration of Belo Horizonte (Ms Fonseca), Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil; and Belo Horizonte (Ms A. M. B. Oliveira and Ms M. C. Oliveira), Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Correspondence: Paula M. M. Arantes, PhD, Rua Pium-i, 461/601, Cruzeiro. CEP: 30.310-080. Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This work was supported by the CNPq and FAPEMIG.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.