Despite the known benefits of physical activity to health and physical function in aging, the number of older adults meeting the recommended guidelines remains low. ACSM’s new pronouncement, Physical Activity, Injurious Falls, and Physical Function in Aging, summarizes the most recent evidence on the relationship between physical activity, risk of fall-related injuries and physical function among older adults. Results indicate that performing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week reduces the risk of fall-related injuries in older people by 32% to 40%. This includes severe falls requiring medical care or hospitalization. Evidence also shows that physical activity improves physical function among the general aging population and those with frailty, hip fracture, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. In this new blog, ACSM Fellow Loretta DiPietro, Ph.D., M.P.H., shares more insights about the evidence and key findings.
The pronouncement on physical activity and function in older age is one of ACSM's 14 new pronouncements that present the science behind the updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Authored primarily by ACSM subject matter experts, each pronouncement addresses a specific topic, sharing the scientific evidence and identifying key knowledge gaps for future research. All were published in the June 2019 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. Health and fitness professionals and basic and applied scientists can use the pronouncements to plan future research projects, cite current evidence for papers and grants, and/or inform the development and delivery of effective interventions.