- Long-term exercise training (duration ≥1 year) in older adults is associated with reduced risk for falls, injurious falls, and possibly fractures, according to a large meta-analysis.
- No benefits were found for reducing hospitalization or mortality.
Why this matters
- This is the first meta-analysis to examine the effect of long-term exercise on prevalent adverse events in older adults.
- Meta-analysis of 40 randomized controlled trials (RCTs; n=21,868) in adults aged ≥60 years.
- Most trials had active comparator groups (attention controls to more intensive activities).
- Funding: None disclosed.
- The most frequent intervention was multicomponent training with aerobic plus strength and balance of moderate intensity, 3 times per week, at 50 minutes/session.
- Exercise training was associated with lowered risk for falls (20 RCTs; risk ratio [RR], 0.88; 95% CI, 0.79-0.98; I2, 50.7%) and injurious falls (9 RCTs; RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.62-0.88; I2, 40.2%), and it tended to reduce the risk for fractures (19 RCTs; RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.71-1.00; I2, 0%).
- Exercise training was not associated with reduced risk for hospitalizations or mortality.
- The optimal frequency of exercise for mortality and falls appears to be 2-3 times per week, according to metaregression.
- Several RCTs failed to report adherence.
- Moderate heterogeneity.
- No subgroup analysis.