A new study conducted in Finland has revealed that routine exercises and Vitamin D supplementation did not lower the overall risk of accidental falls among older women.
However the study also revealed that the risk of serious injury was considerably reduced by more than 50% when older women did regular exercises.
Lead author, Kirsti Uusi-Rasi, a senior researcher and adjunct professor with the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research in Tampere, Finland said, “Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults — head injuries and fractures being the most severe consequences. Therefore, falls prevention is important when trying to prevent injuries.”
Details of the study are discussed in the March 23 online issue of JAMA Internal Medicine by Uusi-Rasi.
It is a known fact that Vitamin D helps in preserving the integrity of the bone. However Uusi-Rasi noted that the link between Vitamin D supplementation and balancer training has been inconclusive.
The study involved more than 400 women in between the age of 70 to 80 years. All the women were the residents of Finland between 2010 and 2013.The study focused on the protective potential of exercise and Vitamin D supplementation. None of the women were deficit in Vitamin D prior to the study.
The participants were divided into 4 groups –
- Vitamin D alone group
- Vitamin D + Exercise group
- Exercise alone group
- A group which neither took Vitamin D nor exercised
The vitamin taking group was given daily dosage of 800 IU’s and the exercise group exercised under the supervision of physical therapists in a class setting, twice a week for the first year and once-weekly classes during the second year. The training schedule focused on improving balance, strength, agility, movement and ability to lift weight.
The final conclusion was that over the course of two years the risk of falling was found to be equal across all the four groups. However it must be understood that exercise under supervision led to a dramatic lowering in the risk of serious injuries when falls did happen.