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Muscle strengthening and balance in the elderly

An innovative programme that we have implemented achieves significant improvements in muscle strength and balance in older people

Important milestones:

  • Improvements of around 18% in tests measuring balance and 32% in muscle strength have been achieved
  • The main benefits, risk reduction and number of falls
  • Every year 150 Basques over the age of 64 die after a fall at home


According to the statistics, every year 150 Basques over 64 years old die after a fall at home, so the need for the use of preventive measures to reduce the risk and number of falls, and improve balance and walking is evident.

The fact is that with ageing the functional capacity of the neuromuscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems begins to progressively decrease, which entails a risk of increased fragility. The decrease in the quantity and quality of muscle mass, the progressive deterioration of the neuromuscular system, the reductions in strength and especially in muscle power, together with the loss of function is one of the main factors influencing the decrease in the ability to remain independent in the community and is at the origin of disability.

The average estimate of loss of muscle mass from the age of 60 onwards is 2 kg in men and 1 kg in women, but just 10 days of bed rest in an elderly person can lead to a loss of 1.5 kg of muscle mass, mainly in the lower limbs, which are essential for stable walking.

The benefits of physical exercise in ageing and specifically in situations of fragility are very important. Increased physical activity in the elderly has been shown to reduce the risk of mortality, prevalent chronic diseases, institutionalisation and functional impairment.

The most beneficial type of physical exercise in the frail elderly is the so-called multi-component exercise in which strength, endurance, balance and walking training are combined. The objectives in terms of physical exercise for the frail elderly should therefore focus on improving this functional capacity through improvements in balance and walking, and consequently reducing the risk and number of falls.


In our aim to achieve the maximum well-being of people in their ageing process, we have set up an innovative programme to strengthen the muscles and improve the balance of older people. It is a multi-component physical exercise programme that combines strength, resistance, balance and walking training. This type of exercise improves walking patterns and allows older people to gain in functional capacity, stability and confidence, and therefore reduce the risk and number of falls.

Participation in the programme begins with a medical assessment by a geriatric specialist and a series of functional and cognitive assessments that are repeated at the end of the programme to check the degree of improvement achieved.

The programme lasts 3 months at a rate of 1 hour twice a week. In each session, the participants perform balance exercises (balance mat and individual exercises) and other exercises on machines in which muscle strength is worked on. All this is done under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
So far 11 people have participated in this programme and the results obtained are satisfactory. There have been improvements of around 18% in the tests that measure balance and of 32% in the muscular strength.

Information about the groups can be found by telephone: 943317123 and info@matiafundazioa.net

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