Physical Exercise Program was Beneficial for Residents of a Long-term Nursing Home

The National Skilled Nursing Care Week May 12-18, 2019

Next week beginning on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2019, Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey will be participating in the National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW). This year’s theme is “Live Soulfully.” Skilled nursing facilities like Park Crescent care for America’s seniors with disabilities and many of these disabilities are a result of unintentional falls. A study published March 19, 2019 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that a six-month exercise program reduced falls in residents of a long-term nursing home (LTNHs) in Gipuzkoa, Spain.

The Single-blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Participants in the study were 112 men and women aged 70 or older, who were able to stand up and walk independently. The moderate intensity exercise program of balance and strength exercises took place for one-hour, two times a week, for six months.
Frailty was measured by the Barthel Index at the beginning of the study and after 12 months. Bad frailty outcomes were recorded 12 months before and 12 months after beginning the study.

Results showed that those who had participated in the exercise program had fewer falls and a lower rate of death 12 months after the program had begun. The researchers concluded that moderate intensity exercise appeared to prevent falls, reduce frailty and death.

Physical Activity and Exercise Beneficial for Seniors

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has a Go4Life website with free exercise lessons and videos because research has shown that physical activity and exercise is beneficial for seniors. The NIA claims that:

  • Exercise can help you maintain and improve your strength in order to remain independent.
  • The balance exercises will help you to improve your balance in order to lower the risk for falls. To read more about participating in physical exercise programs to prevent falls see our blog post from March 28, 2019.
  • The strength exercises help build muscles so that you can keep on using your muscles.
  • Participating in the exercise programs will give you more energy to participate in enjoyable activities.
  • Physical exercises can help to prevent, delay or slow down the progression of diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
  • Exercising to music can improve mood and fight feelings of depression.

Ask your Doctor about Safety of Exercising with Chronic Illnesses

Seniors suffer from many chronic illnesses, so if you are in doubt about whether or not it is safe for you to participate in exercise programs, you should ask your doctor, especially if:

  • You are over age 50 and have not been physically active.
  • You suffer from dizzy spells and feel short of breath.
  • You have suffered in the past from blood clots.
  • You have a feeling of pressure, tightness or pain in your chest.
  • You have a fluttering feeling like your heart is skipping a beat or is racing.
  • You have swelling in your joints.
  • You have sores on your ankles or feet that do not heal.
  • You have a fever or an infection with aching muscles.
  • You have not been dieting but have lost a lot of weight.
  • You have had eye surgery, laser treatment, bleeding in the eye or a detached retina.
  • You recently had surgery on your back or hip.

Safety Tips for Exercising

  • You should always start with warm up exercises to warm up your muscles.
  • Start slowly and gradually build up the amount of time you spend doing exercises.
  • Exercise for only 10 minutes at a time and take a break.
  • Never hold your breath while exercising, as this can have a bad effect on your blood pressure.
  • Be sure to wear proper orthopedic shoes suitable for walking or jogging.
  • If you ride a bicycle, wear a crash helmet.
  • Be careful not to get dehydrated and be sure to drink enough water.
  • Do not bend down from the waist, which can injure your back, but only bend down by bending your hips and knees.

Recovering from a Fall

If you or your loved one are in need of a good rehab to recover after a fall, the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey has a post-acute rehabilitation center that is considered the prime choice for short-term rehabilitation and sub-acute care in the area. Park Crescent also offers long-term skilled nursing care.


Falls are a major cause of disability in seniors and even death. Research shows a good association between doing balance and strength exercises and lowering the risk for falls.


Leave a Comment