Osteoporosis and Martial Arts Fall-Training

Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Might learning martial arts fall-arrest strategies be safe and useful for patients with osteoporosis? Could such training be helpful in preventing hip fractures in those with the disease? That’s what researchers wanted to learn from a feasibility study, using only young adult subjects, that was recently conducted in the Netherlands and published in BMC Research Notes, the journal of BioMed Central (3:111).

The young adult participants were taught how to turn falls into safer rolling movements by using martial arts (MA) techniques that the researchers believe can also be taught to elders. Hip impact forces were measured as they performed MA falls from different positions (kneeling or standing), in different directions (forward or sideways) and under different conditions (onto a martial arts mat or onto a thick mattress).

The authors concluded: "Based on the data of young adults and safety criteria, the MA fall-training was expected to be safe for persons with osteoporosis if appropriate safety measures are taken: during the training persons with osteoporosis should wear hip protectors that could attenuate the maximum hip impact force by at least 65 percent, perform the fall exercises on a thick mattress, and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position. Hence, a modified MA fall-training might be useful to reduce hip fracture risk in persons with osteoporosis."

To read the abstract of this study, click on http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/3/111/abstract.

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