From "nana" to "ninja": safe martial arts training can reduce damage from falls

Share this content:

They may never have the skills of Bruce Lee, but seniors with osteoporosis can use martial arts training to learn to fall more safely, researchers say.

Using younger, more resilient test subjects, researchers from the Sint Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, tested the force of impact of a variety of different martial arts fall exercises. Subjects performed sideways and forward martial arts falls, which involve turning the fall into a rolling action, from a kneeling position on both a judo mat and a mattress, as well as from a standing position on a mattress, according to the report. The force of impact on the subject's hip was measured and compared to information on how much force an osteoporosis sufferer can withstand.

While most of the falls exercises would involve too great an impact for seniors with osteoporosis, researchers found ways they could safely perform the exercises. Seniors should wear protective hip padding, perform falls on a thick mattress, and avoid falling forward from a standing position. The report was published online April 22 in the open access journal BMC Research Notes.