This study examined the difference in falls between older adults who participated in group exercise and those who exercised alone. We used cross-sectional data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study. Data were obtained from functionally independent residents aged 65 years or older across 30 municipalities in Japan (n = 19,257). Logistic regression analysis was performed with experience of multiple falls over the past year as the dependent variable and type of exercise as the independent variable. Respondents were divided into three groups according to how they performed exercise: (1) non-exercisers (NE, no exercise), (2) those who only exercised alone (IE, individual exercise), and (3) those whose exercise included participation in group exercise (GE, group exercise). In total, 887 (4.6%) respondents reported multiple falls. After adjustment for 10 possible confounders, the GE group had an odds ratio (OR) for falls of 0.75 (95% confidence intervals 0.60⁻0.95) compared with the IE group. After adjustment for physiological factors and a psychological factor, the OR for the GE group increased slightly; however, an association between falls and exercise type was indicated. Older adults who participate in group exercise may receive additional benefits related to falls prevention compared with those who exercise alone.
Keywords: cross-sectional study; fall prevention; group exercise; older adults.