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Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips

Learning to roll when they fall helps prevent fractures, study finds

FRIDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Martial arts training appears to be a safe way to teach osteoporosis patients how to reduce the risk of injury when they fall, a new study suggests.

Researchers in the Netherlands studied the potential benefits of fall training in six healthy people.

"For obvious safety reasons, this could not be directly assessed using persons with osteoporosis. Therefore, we measured the hip impact forces during the martial arts fall exercises in a group of young adults," researcher Brenda Groen said in a news release.

"Based on our results ... we believe that fall training would be safe for persons with osteoporosis if they wear hip protectors during the training, perform fall exercises on a thick mattress, and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position," she said.

The volunteers in this study were taught how to turn a fall into a rolling movement by bending and twisting the torso and neck. These types of moves can be taught to older people, the researchers said.

"Since martial arts techniques reduce hip impact forces and can be learned by older persons, martial arts fall training may prevent hip fractures among persons with osteoporosis," Groen concluded.

The study was published April 21 in the journal BMC Research Notes.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about falls and older adults.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, April 21, 2010

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