The Physio Hub

Reactive-Based Training for Falls Prevention

What is reactive-based training?

Reactive-based training involves exercises which require quick reactions to changes in the external environment. This form of exercise works to improve dynamic balance and co-ordination.

Typically when we lose our balance our body forms strategies to help regain our balance and keep our centre of mass within our base of support. With this form of exercises we aim to work towards the stepping strategy. This is where a larger perturbation occurs and our centre of mass moves outside of our base of support requiring a step to recover our balance.

Reactive-based learning works to promote new motor learning which forms reaction strategies that are automatically implemented if a sudden loss of balance is experienced during day to day activities.

Who would it benefit?

Reactive-based training would benefit those who are at higher risk of falls. Anyone with balance deficits for example; vestibular problems, peripheral neuropathy, lower extremity weakness. Falls risk increases with age. Each fall can lead to hospitalization or an increase in fear of falling further impacting mobility and increasing the risk. Therefore this training would benefit the older population. This training exposes them to unpredictable and challenging situations in safe environments to help with fall prevention.

How can I implement this into my rehab?

Reactive-based training can be completed at a variety of difficulty levels. It is initially completed by holding a static position and reacting to external perturbations. This foundation can then progress to test dynamic stability.

For more examples on specific exercises follow the links below:

YouTube Link 1

YouTube Link 2 -> this requires more equipment and appropriate supervision


Physiopedia – Reactive Balance Training

Physio-Network – Reactive-based Training for Fall Prevention in Older Adults