Fall Risk is in Your Head, Not Just Your Body

New Study – “Improved results with Cognitive-Motor, Dual-Task Training”

The exciting new study below points to the value of “cognitive-physical, dual-task training” to achieve better results in your balance and fall-risk programs for older adults. An effective program can improve the lives of your patients/residents/members while also resulting in huge cost savings for both them and your business or community.

While most fall-risk programs focus on physical-only balance and strength training, a strong body of evidence including this study recognizes that the brain, and specifically executive function, plays an essential and critical role. SMARTfit’s technology and programming can help.

The study, published on the National Institute of Health website, concluded:

“These results indicate that dual-task training is clinically beneficial to improving static and dynamic balance as well as executive function in older adults with a history of falls. These findings shed new light on a clinical implication that executive function should be considered in balance training for older adults.”

According to Harvard University, “Executive function refers to a set of skills. These skills underlie the capacity to plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control, follow multiple-step directions even when interrupted, and stay focused despite distractions, among others. No One Is Born with Executive Function Skills, but Nearly Everyone Can Learn Them.”

SMARTfit’s easy-to-implement assessment and training programs deliver a wide range of engaging dual-task executive function challenges while the body is moving. SMARTfit utilizes the same tests used in this study – OLST (One Leg Standing Test), TUG (Timed Up and Go), and the Trail Making B, just a few of the gold-standard physical and cognitive tests utilized by the SMARTfit platform.

Study Overview:

Is Dual-Task Training Clinically Beneficial to Improve Balance and Executive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults with a History of Falls?

Jin-Hyuck Park 1

Abstract
Purpose: To date, the effects of dual-task training on balance underlying cognitive function remain unclear. Therefore, this study was to verify the effects of cognitive−physical dual-task training on balance and executive function in community-dwelling older adults with a history of falls. Method: Fifty-eight participants were randomly allocated to the experimental group (EG) receiving cognitive−physical dual-task training (n = 29) or to the control group (CG) receiving functional balance training (n = 29). After 12 sessions for 6 weeks, the One Leg Standing Test (OLST), the Timed UP and Go (TUG), and part B of the Trail-Making Test (TMT-B) were implemented to examine static and dynamic balance and executive function. Results: After the 12 sessions, the EG showed a greater improvement in the OLST (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.332), the TUG (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.375), and the TMT-B (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.224) compared to the CG. Conclusion: These results indicate that dual-task training is clinically beneficial to improving static and dynamic balance as well as executive function in older adults with a history of falls. These findings shed new light on a clinical implication that executive function should be considered in balance training for older adults.

Click here to learn more about this study on the NIH website.

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