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

Activity as a protecting factor for falls?

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author K. Engelhard - German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • J. Kleinert - German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • O. Bock - German Sport University Cologne, Germany

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa099

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

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Engelhard et al.
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.




The greater risk of falling in the elderly is often explained by age-related decrease of cognitive and physical abilities. Some studies show that this phenomenon is due to inactivity and reduced use of resources than a biological consequence [1]. Based on this idea, the present study investigated the risk of falling of physically active senoirs.


30 young (M = 25.37; SD = 3.13) and 28 old subjects (M = 65; SD = 3.56) with comparable physical activities took part in the study. Throughout the whole experiment subjects were walking on a treadmill. Walking speed was 1.2 m/sec for the young and 0.8 m/sec for the old.

While walking on a treadmill the subjects had to avoid unexpected obstacles as a single task (O_S) and with a concurrent signal-detection task (O_C). A two factor ANOVA tested, whether the group factor age and the repeated measure factor task had an effect on the number of obstacle contacts.


We found a significant effect for the factor task on the number of obstacle contacts (O_C > O_S; p < .01). It was not possible to show a significant effect for the factor age ( p = .59).


Results indicate, that there is no greater risk of falling for physical active seniors. Hence, it seems advisable to implement physical activities in fall prevention programs.


Wahl HW, Tesch-Römer C. Interventionsgerontologie im deutschsprachigen Raum. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie. 1998;31:76-88.