No more Unexpected Trips

Written by Female Fitness

Exercise Not Vitamin D May Help Prevent Fall-Related Injuries In Older Women. It cost less and is easier to get too...

Routine exercise or vitamin D supplements do not reduce the overall risk of overall risk for accidental falls among older women, however, the risk of serious injury as a result of falling can be reduced to half when engaged in regular exercise, according to the study published on March 23 in the online issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

The lead study 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".

One of the important roles of vitamin D in the body is to strengthen the bones. When calcium and phosphorus are vital for development of the structure and strength of the bones, vitamin D is needed to absorb these minerals. It is often prescribed in the form of supplements to reduce the risk of developing bone abnormalities such as osteomalacia (soft bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones), especially in the elderly.

But the study author Uusi-Rasi examined that prior research conducted to explore the relationship between vitamin D supplements and/or strength and balance training and fall risk among seniors had been inconclusive.

To analyze the role of both vitamin D and routine exercise as a protective, the researchers investigated over 400 women between the ages of 70 and 80 between 2010 and 2013. These women were not having any vitamin D deficiency prior to the study. They were then divided into four groups: a vitamin D group, a vitamin D with exercise group, an exercise group, and a group that neither exercised nor took vitamin D.

The group taking vitamin D were administered with a daily dosage of 800 IUs and the group who exercised did so under the supervision of physical therapists with focus on improving balance, strength, agility, movement, and the ability to lift weight.

After two years, they observed that the risk of falling was more or less equal among all four groups. However, the group who indulged in routine exercise was associated with low risk for serious injury when falls did happen. The injuries like bruising, abrasions, contusions, sprains, fractures and/or head injuries which need medical care were categorised under "serious injury".

To this the study author elaborated that "Exercise improves functionality, it seemed to be more effective in reducing injurious falls in this age group with or without vitamin D. Women who exercised showed improvements not only in muscle strength and power, but also in mobility and balance."

According to her, such improvements might help the older women to fall in a safer way.

An opposite effect was observed with respect to vitamin D supplements which were not linked to a lower risk for serious injury, whether taken alone or in combination with exercise. But they helped in increasing the bone density in certain areas or maintain it.

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. in an accompanying editorial has raised questions on the conclusions drawn from the study about vitamin D and says that it may not apply to all seniors, given that the Finnish pool of subjects were all white females who started the study with optimal vitamin D levels.

He argued that it is too soon to rule out the role of vitamin D as fall preventative, since both exercise and vitamin D are have been previously associated with imparting greater muscle strength and balance.



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