gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

The balance-training program by Pro Senectute Switzerland

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa040

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Fehrlin.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Falls at an advanced age are

  • frequent: About one third of all people over 65 years of age falls once a year.
  • very ordinary: They usually happen in the home during everyday activities.
  • far-reaching: The injured person not only suffers pain but very often limited mobility and often loss of independence.

Target Audience

Elderly people living at home who have already had a fall but are not registered as having a medical condition.

Main Idea

This concept aims to exploit one of the most important health resources, namely, self-effectiveness as a prerequisite for any independent training.


The program is intended to help prevent falls and to improve motor skills. It demonstrates what exactly the fall situation is for elderly people, what external and internal factors affect balance, and thus how the risk of falling can be influenced, and how the ability to maintain balance can be improved by specific training.

Providersare specially selected leaders of sports programs for the elderly who have been trained by Pro Senectute Switzerland. The condition for admission to the advanced training course is several years experience in physical education / gymnastics for the elderly.

At the three day advanced training course the future leaders are empowered to give the 12 lessons in fall prophylaxis correctly in terms of content and method.

Program Content

The course participants are given answers to the following questions:

  • What is the fall situation for elderly people today?
  • What are the most important factors leading to a fall?
  • What possible interventions might ease the situation?
  • How are balance and sense of orientation regulated? Which organs are involved?
  • What are the fall risk factors based on?
  • How can increased risk of falling be recognized?
  • How are stimuli perceived? (proprioceptors)
  • What methodical tips are particularly relevant when dealing with the target audience?

During the advanced training course the 12 training units with the following topics will be assimilated and tested:

  • Familiarization and testing of balance
  • Standing and walking while balancing
  • Orientation and balance
  • Non-visual perception
  • Standing and walking off balance
  • Standing: From easy to difficult
  • Walking: gait training Part 1
  • Walking: gait training Part 2
  • Walking: From easy to difficult
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Knowing and testing balance
  • Everything balances out

Every practical training session is structured the same way:

Introduction: reflexion and Information, getting in the mood, warming up

Main Part: repetition of previous exercises, working through the main topic of the session, repetition of stretching and agility exercises.

Conclusion: relaxation exercises, reflexion on the course content, homework