Fitness professionals who are passionate about training older adults may want to consider developing digital and virtual exercise options. Why? It seems there aren’t many to choose from, and the need is great.

A comprehensive study from the University of Manchester in England reviewed strength and balance programs that could prevent falls in older adults living independently. The researchers found only four apps and eight websites to recommend. Criteria to evaluate programs included quality (credibility and user-friendliness), use of evidence-based exercises, and behavior-change techniques. Researchers selected programs designed to improve balance through the transfer of body weight and did not include “3D,” continuous-movement routines such as tai chi. Products were not evaluated for effectiveness in randomized controlled trials.

Four of the top apps are StandingTall, Otago Exercise Programme, Nymbl and Keep On Keep Up. Websites include ageuk.org.uk, csp.org.uk, exerciseright.com.au, fallsassistant.org.uk, healthline.com, mayoclinic.org, www.nhs.uk/live-well and nhsinform.scot.

The study is open source and available in BMC Geriatrics (2020; 20 [483]).

See also: Exergaming May Improve Independence Among Older Adults