June 2021

Judo4Balance Improves Physical Functioning

Falls and fall-related injuries are major threats not only for older adults but also for younger age groups such as working-age adults. It has been shown that it is possible to reduce the risk of falls and fall-related injuries, to some extent. However, interventions that aim to  reduce both the risk of falls and mitigate fall-related injuries through teaching safe falling techniques are still sparsely investigated. The aim with this study was to investigate the effect of a 10-week workplace-based judo inspired exercise program (Judo4Balance). The measures in the study include physical functions, fall-related self-efficacy, and safe falling techniques.

A total of 142 working-age adults participated in this non-randomized controlled study. The participants were allocated to the Judo4Balance group (n = 79), or to a waiting list control group (n = 63). The mean age was 47 years (18–68). The recruitment period was from May 2018 to October 2019. A total of 128 participants were included in the analysis. Logistic Regression models were used to analyze the outcomes: physical function, balance and fall-related self-efficacy as well as falling techniques (backwards and forwards).

At the 10-week follow-up, the results displayed significant differences between the two groups in all measurements, except for the fall-related self-efficacy with Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.8. Techniques for falling forwards and backwards displayed the highest OR = 124.1 and OR = 98.9. Physical function and balance showed OR = 3.3 and OR = 6.4.

This exercise program under study displayed significant differences in strength, balance and safe falling techniques between the groups. It is suggested that the functions that were studied here can effectively be trained in working-age adults by using the Judo4Balace exercise program. Thus, it may be beneficial to further investigate and include training in proper falling techniques when designing fall prevention exercise programs. Furthermore, it may be a novel way of addressing fall-related injuries, which are of utmost importance to prevent in near future.

Source: Arkkukangas M, Baathe KS, Ekholm A, Tonkonogi M. A 10-week judo-based exercise programme improves physical functions such as balance, strength and falling techniques in working age adults. BMC Public Health. 2021;21:744. Use is per the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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