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How can exercising to music affect my risk of falls if I am an older adult?

Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
A music-based multitask exercise program led to improved gait and balance, and a reduction in the rate of falling in older adults, according to research published in "Archives of Internal Medicine." The participants were assigned to either a music-based exercise program or a delayed intervention group.

For the first six months, adults in the intervention group participated in a one-hour weekly exercise program that included walking in time to piano music, responding to changes in the music's rhythm. During the second six months, the delayed intervention control group participated in the same program, while adults in the intervention group returned to normal exercise activities.

Overall, balance and functional tests improved in the intervention group and there were fewer falls in the early intervention group, as well as a lower rate of falling. These changes persisted for the next six months. Adults in the delayed intervention group experienced similar changes when they were enrolled in the exercise class program.

Studies have shown that a music-based exercise program improves walking, the ability to balance, and decreases the risk of falling in older adults who are over 65 years of age. Exercise programs that use music, challenge older adults to move in time with the beat of the music and allow them to practice responding to changes in the rhythm of music by adjusting their movement patterns. Older adults should begin by practicing with music that has a slow and steady beat and then slowly progressing with faster paced music.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.