Physical Function in Older Adults

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Among older adults, falls and fall-related injuries are responsible for significant impairment, loss of independence and reduced quality of life. This is due to the impaired ability of the central nervous system to maintain balance and adaptive reactions, and is combined with the effects of age-related muscle loss, which contribute to a significant increased risk of falling (SHC, 2017). The number of people newly hospitalized for injury in 100 Mile house Local Health Area, between 2006 and 2011, is 2176 (PHSA, 2017). The Potential Years of Life Lost Index (PYLLI) related to falls is higher in 100 Mile House LHA than the B.C. average, as indicated in the Figure below. This indicator contributes to an understanding of the adequacy and effectiveness of injury prevention efforts, which includes prevention and treatment resources. 

Benefits of Aquatic Exercise on Physical Function in Older Adults

Aquatic exercise improves quality of life and reduces disability. A systematic review by Waller et al. (2016) found that moderate- to high-intensity aquatic exercise is at least as effective as land-based exercise for improving physical function, including maximum strength, muscular endurance, agility, flexibility, aerobic power, and self-reported physical function. An aquatic environment allows individuals to feel safe while exercising and reduces their fear of falling, which often limits activity or exercise in older adults. British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) (2010) states that increased health care costs are directly associated with inactivity, which indicates that the availability of an aquatic centre could improve health and decrease health-care costs in the older population. SHC (2017) summarizes that aquatic exercise and swimming is a therapeutic option for improving balance, increasing strength and reducing risk of falls in elderly adults. These positive outcomes lead to increased confidence with balance and walking, a reduction in the risk of falling, and mitigating age-related frailty. 

References

PHSA (2017): http://communityhealth.phsa.ca/HealthProfiles/HealthReport/100%20Mile%20House

Waller, B., Ogonowski-slodownik, A., Vitor, M., Rodionova, K., Lambeck, J., Heinonen, A. and Daly, D. (2016). The effect of aquatic exercise on physical functioning in the older adult: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Age and Ageing. 45 (5): 593–601.

British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA), 2010. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.bcrpa.bc.ca/media/39603/2011provincialbudgetsubmission.pdf.

Swimming and Health Commission (2017). The health and wellbeing benefits of swimming. Retrieved from: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/new-report-shows-health- benefits- swimming/?fbclid=IwAR3mEPcdrGmWX2oNF_0cxVHjBX3wMvUgjWMP64bJRqKQ8Pd5wU49 aObx9fs