Over a period of two-plus years researchers tested two groups of older people (60-90 years) who’d experienced at least two falls prior to the start of the study, according to a recent Lancet article. One group received treadmill training only, three times each week. The other group received the same treadmill training but with an added component of virtual reality (VR) – audio/visual presentation of winding pathways, obstacles and other challenges that required the participant to pay careful attention.
Results showed dramatic improvement in the rate of falls in the months after the experimental training among those in the treadmill-plus-VR as opposed to a virtually unchanged rate of falls among those who had treadmill-only training.
So, it appears that having to navigate trails and overcome obstacles makes the mind-body unit more responsive to its surroundings – thus providing greater stability and protection for future ventures.