Apps and wearable devices are rapidly gaining popularity among health-conscious millennials and Gen Z, but what about older adults? According to researchers from the University of Texas, an easy-to-use exercise app for seniors can greatly reduce their risk of falls by guiding them through daily strengthening exercises.
Falls in the home are a serious health concern for seniors, especially those that live alone. Unfortunately, adults with limited mobility or financial resources may not have access to community courses to help improve strength. Plus, during the pandemic, most of the resources that were available were suspended. To address this, the researchers provided a test group of seniors with iPads and each device was equipped with the “Keep on Keep Up” or KOKU, app.
The app was designed specifically for older adults by researchers at the University of Manchester and it features daily exercise and mobility routines as well as motivation from a relatable British avatar. Each user inputs health details to generate a personalized exercise regimen and the app also has health literacy games to improve home safety awareness and knowledge of other wellness factors like hydration and proper nutrition.
The 28 study subjects were sourced through Meals on Wheels of Central Texas as many participants have significant mobility restrictions and minimal support networks. After adhering to the app-based exercise plan, participants noted significant improvement in physical mobility and more agility in completing tasks such as getting up from a chair with ease, climbing stairs, and going on long walks.
Mobility loss is very common with age, but unfortunately, seniors without access to resources like physical therapy or exercise classes have few avenues to turn to for how best to maintain their strength. Studies have shown that strength and balance-based exercises reduce falls by up to 42 percent, and the creation of user-friendly mobility apps brings free resources to all seniors and helps promote overall wellness for injury prevention and ease of independent living.