The effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on fall risk factors in healthy older adults: A systematic review

Michal Elboim-Gabyzon, Roie Buxbaum, Roei Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves functional capacity, muscle power and physical performance in older adults with and without comorbidities. The aim of this study was to explore the effectiveness of HIIT as a method for reducing major fall risk factors (balance, muscle strength and physical activity) in older adults. A systematic literature search was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. A computerized search was conducted using electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, APA PsycInfo, Web of Science, Scopus, PEDro, and AgeLine) published up to July 2021. Eleven papers (9 studies) of moderate quality (mean of 5.5 in Pedro scale) involving 328 healthy older adults met the inclusion criteria. Studies were characterized by high heterogeneity in terms of methodology, HIIT modality and protocol, subject characteristics, and outcome measures. Results indicate that HIIT cannot be recommended as a single modality for fall prevention in older adults due to insufficient data and no consensus among the studies. HIIT appears to be a safe and well-tolerated supplement to proven fall prevention programs, due to its effects on lower limb strength reflected in functional performance tests, and on dynamic balance and subjective balance perception. However, caution is warranted following HIIT, especially after the first session, due to possible temporary instability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11809
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Balance
  • Falls risk
  • HIIT
  • High-intensity interval training approach
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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