Are exercise interventions effective in improving balance in older people?
Many of these mainly small studies (the largest had 620 participants) demonstrated a range of methodological weaknesses. In particular there was a lack of standardised measures to determine balance ability across the studies. Moreover, a lack of follow-up of participants makes it hard to determine any long-term effects of the interventions (the longest trials lasted 12 months but most were for only a few weeks or months).
A decrease in ability to maintain balance may be associated with an increased risk of falling. In older adults, falls often lead to injury, loss of independence, associated illness and early death.