Tennessee State Grad Students Take to the Water to Study Balance and Fall Prevention

Archived on 13 February 2012.

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – It has been known for years that aquatic exercise such as water aerobics, and gentle water stretching   are effective ways for seniors to stay fit and improve aerobic health. Low-impact aerobic exercise elevates the heart rate while reducing pressure on joints, while the water provides both buoyancy for balance, and resistance that seniors can control during the workout.

But now students from Tennessee State University want to learn if water-based aquatics can be effective in reducing falls in seniors in a first-of-its kind research.

“What we are trying to find out is if aquatic therapy can prevent falls in seniors age 60 and above,” said Lindsay Carlson, graduate student in the department of physical therapy’s doctoral program. “It’s all about balance and fall prevention. We are looking at different exercises that help specific muscles known to help balance.”

According to the National Council on Aging, every 17 seconds, an older adult goes to the emergency room as the result of a fall. Even more alarming is that every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. It is a trend that, according to Dr. Natalie Housel, associate professor of physical therapy, is increasing and one they hope to reverse with this pilot study.

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