Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Gray, Michelle

Committee Member/Reader

Fort, Inza

Committee Member/Second Reader

Washington, Tyrone


Context: Around 30% of older adults over the age of 65 fall once a year. These falls can result in hospitalization and permanent injury. Falls efficacy, or the confidence level that one will not fall, has been shown to have a direct correlation to the fear of falling and falls. It has been found that 29-92% of older adults who have fallen have a fear of falling and 12-65% of older adults who have not fallen experience a fear of falling. This fear of falling acts as a hindrance on older adult’s ability to complete daily activities and leads to future falls. Due to this, it is necessary to find a method to decrease the fear of falling. Previous research has been completed comparing exercise interventions. Tai chi, water aerobics, and resistance training have all previously been tested, but it was unknown which was more effective in decreasing the fear of falling. Objective: The purpose of the study was to compare three different exercise types, tai chi, water aerobics and resistance training, effect on falls efficacy in older adults to look at which was more effective. The hypothesis was that resistance training would be a more effective exercise. Design: The design for this study was a cross sectional study. Setting: Each subject was tested at Butterfield Trail Village for all assessments. Participants: Forty-one older adults who participated in one or more of the three exercise classes participated in the study. There were 9 water aerobics, 8 resistance training, 8 tai chi, and 15 of an unforeseen combination group. The mean age was 80 y. with a mean BMI of 29.9 kg/m2, and 88% were women. Methods: The participants were recruited from the three exercise classes provided by Butterfield Trail. The participants were given a health history questionnaire. The first assessment given was the Falls Efficacy Scale- International (FES-I). Based on the score, it was determined the participants level of fear of falling. The second assessment given was the Tinetti. This test indicated the participant’s risk for falling. Main Outcome Measures: Dependent variables used to assess the fear of falling and balance and gait were the participant’s scores on the FES-I and the Tinetti. A one-way ANOVA was used to test for statistical significance (p = .05). Additionally, a post hoc test was conducted to compare each individual exercise group. Results: Statistical significance was not found in any of the outcome measures. Tinetti scores were similar between the four groups: water aerobics 26.11±2.62, resistance training 27.00±1.20, tai chi 27.25±1.04 and combination 27.38±1.15. The four groups were also similar for the FES-I scores: water aerobics 23.67±7.86, resistance training 23.00±5.18, tai chi 21.13±3.27, and combination 21.94±5.30. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that all three exercises are equally beneficial for having a low fear of low risk for falls. All three exercises have attributes that can attribute to a better quality of life and a lower fear of falling.