Merging the familiar treadmill with the latest in virtual reality technology could be an economical approach to fall prevention strategies. The threat of falling presents real risks to aging adults and those with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. It is falling that is often blamed as the first event in a series of poor health consequences that may lead to serious impairment or death. New research looks at potential newly enhanced strategies for fall prevention. While the traditional approach seeks to improve muscle strength and balance with physical conditioning, researchers are considering the benefit of building cognitive strength alongside mobility. They propose to do this using the latest in virtual reality technology. In a recent study a group of older adults used a game simulation while walking a treadmill. Virtual reality training in this study significantly reduced fall rates and raised patient satisfaction with treatment.
- 1A combination of virtual reality and treadmill training may prove effective in preventing dangerous falls associated with aging, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
- 2Six months after training, those who trained with virtual reality experienced almost a 50% reduction in falls.
- 3The combination could be implemented in gyms, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes to improve walking skills and prevent the falls of older adults.
A combination of virtual reality and treadmill training may prove effective in preventing dangerous falls associated with aging.