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Older people asked to step up and take part in research aimed at preventing falls

News Page 4th May 2018

Researchers looking at what exercises can make older people stronger and help prevent falls are asking Northamptonshire people to sign up for a further study into leg strength.

Tony Kay, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Northampton and who is leading on the study, made the call during an appearance on local radio.

As we get older, we generally have more difficulty walking and consequently take less exercise which can reduce muscle strength and balance, increasing the risk of falling.

Last year, Professor Kay and his research team worked with local people aged 60 or over to help establish if chair-based exercises could improve muscle quality and strength in their legs.

The results showed that although there were definite increases in muscle strength from the exercises participants undertook, there was no overall change in their balance.

Now, Professor Kay and his team are looking at specific exercises aimed at strengthening participants’ muscles at the hip, knee and importantly at the ankle and their effect on people’s balance.

Volunteers are required to start from 14th May and need to be over 60 and have no current lower limb muscle injuries.

They will need to visit our Park Campus twice a week for no longer than 30 minutes from walking in to the laboratory and out again and take part in the exercises for the full duration of the study, which will last for eight weeks.

Tony Kay, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Northampton and who is leading on the study, said: “Firstly, many thanks to all of the participants who took part in our study last year. The results were surprising, with a 60% increase in overall strength and a 10% increase in muscle mass. Considering how we lose muscle each year as we get older, this was like taking someone back a decade.”

“Our new study will look at an identical exercise programme to last year with the addition of performing these exercises also at the ankle to see if we can improve not only muscle strength, mass, and mobility but also balance in older people.”

“Again, we look forward to welcoming people to help us build a clearer picture of which exercises can help improve lower limb function and perhaps, prevent falls in older people.”

For more information, email or call 01604 892577.

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