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Fall arrest strategy training improves upper body response time compared to standard fall prevention exercise in older women: a randomized trial [with consumer summary]
Arnold CM, Lanovaz J, Farthing JP, Legg H, Weimer M, Kim S
Clinical Rehabilitation 2022 Jul;36(7):940-951
clinical trial
8/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

INTRODUCTION: Exercise can decrease fall risk in older adults but less is known about training to reduce injury risk in the event a fall is unavoidable. The purpose of this study was to compare standard fall prevention exercises to novel Fall Arrest Strategy Training (FAST); exercises designed to improve upper body capacity to reduce fall-injury risk in older women. METHOD: Forty women (mean age 74.5 years) participated in either Standard (n = 19) or FAST (n = 21) twice per week for 12 weeks. Both interventions included lower body strength, balance, walking practice, agility and education. FAST added exercises designed to enhance forward landing and descent control such as upper body strengthening, speed and practice of landing and descent on outstretched hands. RESULTS: Both FAST and Standard significantly improved strength, mobility, balance, and fall risk factors from pre to post-intervention. There was a significant time by group interaction effect for upper body response time where FAST improved but Standard did not (p = 0.038). DISCUSSION: FAST resulted in similar gains in factors that reduce fall risk as a standard fall prevention program; with the additional benefit of improving speed of arm protective responses; a factor that may help enhance landing position and reduce injury risks such as head impact during a forward fall.

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