Falls are a global problem. Exercise reduces falls in older adults, but usually requires balance, strength or aerobic training. Researchers discuss treadmill-based balance training, which mimics real-life balance challenges (e.g., trips and slips) in a safe setting. Adults practice and learn from these simulated real-life situations. Benefits from only one to four training sessions can last more than a year.
This is much more efficient and feasible than traditional strength, balance and fitness exercise over several months. Researchers focused on treadmill-based balance training in healthy older people and in patients with neuropathology (e.g., stroke and Parkinson’s). They provide a new view on how small amounts of this perturbation-based balance training will relate to the effects on falls in daily life.
Researchers argue that in neurological populations, more training is required to see improvements in reactive balance. This includes how people can transfer what they have learned in the lab to their home settings. Overall, treadmill-based balance training is a promising option for populations with an increased fall risk. View the abstract.