Intended for healthcare professionals


Better balance, fewer falls

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 23 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3930
  1. Sarah E Lamb, Kadoorie professor of trauma rehabilitation1,
  2. Jill E Lamb, retired physiotherapist2
  1. 1Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LD, UK
  2. 2Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Lamb sarah.lamb{at}

Encourage older women to attend balance training

Falls are a major problem for older people because they are so common and can result in injury and loss of quality of life. Age associated decline in muscle strength and the nervous system can lead to a sense of unsteady walking. In turn, this can lead to a loss of confidence in moving and, for some people, serious falls.

We have known for some time that strength and balance training is effective in preventing falls and improving mobility and confidence.1 Most studies have lasted a maximum of a year period, and programmes require investment of time and effort from older people.1 This is not always a popular option.2

The linked article by El-Khoury and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.h3830) provides important advances and reassurance and should help older people decide whether investment in exercise is worth it and what type of exercise to invest in.3 The logic of improving balance and unsteadiness to reduce falls is borne out once again in this well conducted trial including women from a broad geographical area of France. As not …

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