Falls are associated with morbidity and mortality in older adults. The aim of this systematic review was to identify, describe and analyze the effects of physical exercise programs on the reduction of the risk of falls in adults above the age of 60. For this purpose, the Medline/ Pubmed, Lilacs, and SciELO databases available at the site of the Latin American Center of Information in Health Sciences (BIREME) were searched for articles comprising the period between 1999 and 2009 using the following keywords: accidental falls, elderly, exercise. A total of 385 publications were identified and 10 articles that met the criteria established in this study were selected. Strength and balance activities were the most frequent components of the exercise programs, in addition to coordination, flexibility and aerobic exercise. However, there was no clear information regarding the frequency, duration and intensity of the sessions. It was concluded that programs combining strength and balance components with other interventions, performed at least twice a week, and monitoring the participants for 3 to 6 months after intervention were the most effective in reducing and preventing falls in older adults. However, a more detailed presentation of some methodological aspects is necessary to permit the reproduction of these studies and the comparison of their results.
Falls; Elderly; Exercise