Our research in the

Mobility and Falls theme

The Physical Activity, Ageing and Disability stream includes research staff, research students and professional staff with a variety of backgrounds including physiotherapy and occupational therapy. We aim to help reduce the global epidemic of physical inactivity.

Approximately 30% of adults aged over 65 fall each year and many report difficulties with mobility. This theme focuses on exercise and other physical activity interventions to prevent falls and enhance mobility.

IMH-led projects

We hope the findings of this project lead to the development of home-based exercise programs to improve strength, balance and reduce falls and improve shoulder functioning in older people.

The aim of this project is to compare the effectiveness of two home-based exercise programs – one aimed at improving lower limb strength and balance for preventing falls and the other aimed at improving upper limb strength and mobility to reduce shoulder dysfunction. Participants are taught the exercises in a group workshop setting and then complete their exercises at home three times each week for 12 months. Participants are provided with a calendar to record their exercises and falls each month, and a program manual and exercise weights.

This project is no longer recruiting.

Principal Investigator: Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH)

Chief Investigators: Dr Susan Furber (University of New South Wales), Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH), Professor Kirsten Howard (University of Sydney), Professor Adrian Bauman (University of Sydney), Associate Professor Karen Ginn (University of Sydney) and Dr Paul Van Den Dolder (Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute)

For more information about this project, please contact Professor Cathie Sherrington. This project has received ethics approval from the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

This is a NHMRC Partnership Grant (2014 – 2019).

ACTRN12615000865516

We hope the findings of this project lead to increased physical activity, decreased risk of falling and improved eating habits in older people.

The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of two 12 month healthy ageing strategies among people who attend established, community-based groups. The first intervention is a physical activity and fall prevention intervention, including telephone-based health coaching and written information on physical activity and falls. The second is a nutrition intervention involving telephone-based health coaching and written information about eating habits. The trial also aims to establish the impact of these interventions on physical activity, eating habits, weight (body mass index), goal attainment, mobility confidence, quality of life, fear of falling, risk-taking behaviour, well-being, and mood.

This project is no longer recruiting.

Principal Investigator: Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH)

Chief Investigators:  Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH), Professor Dafna Merom (Western Sydney University), Professor Stuart Smith (Southern Cross University), Associate Professor Allison Tong (University of Sydney), Professor Kirsten Howard (University of Sydney) and Professor Chris Rissel (University of Sydney).

For more information about this project, please contact Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann. This project has received ethics approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee.

This is a NHMRC Project Grant (2015 – 2018).

ACTRN12615001190594

We hope the findings of this project lead to the development of a yoga-based exercise program to prevent falls in people aged 65 and over.

The aim of this project is to assess the effectiveness of a 40 week yoga program, compared with an advice booklet, on falls.  We will also assess the effectiveness of the program on other key indicators of healthy ageing, such as mental health, establish the cost-effectiveness of the intervention, and measure the yoga program’s potential for implementation.

Participants allocated to the yoga-based exercise group will attend 40 weeks of twice-weekly, one-hour yoga classes in established yoga studios in Sydney with experienced yoga teachers. Participants will be asked to complete a home-based yoga program for at least two extra 20-minute sessions each week.

This project is not yet recruiting.

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann (IMH)

Chief Investigators: Professor Cathie Sherrington (IMH), Professor Stephen Lord (NeuRA)

Associate Investigators: Professor Kirsten Howard (University of Sydney), Professor Adrian Bauman (University of Sydney), Professor Chris Rissel (University of Sydney), Professor Robert Cumming (University of Sydney), Professor Kaarin Anstey (NeuRA), Professor Roberta Shepherd (University of Sydney), Associate Professor Patrick Kelly (University of Sydney), Dr Anne Grunseit (University of Sydney), Ms Romina Sesto

For more information about this project, please contact Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann

This project has not yet received ethics approval.

The sponsor of this trial is The University of Sydney. Funding is from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Collaborative projects

The aim of this trial is to assess the effectiveness of the Ironbark fall prevention program on reducing the number of falls in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are 45 years and older. This group is compared to control participants who receive a healthy ageing program. The Ironbark program includes interactive discussion about fall risk factors, combined with balance and strength training. It was created after a successful New South Wales pilot and will now run across New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

This study is not yet recruiting participants.

Principal Investigator: Professor Rebecca Ivers (George Institute)

Institute for Musculoskeletal Health Investigators: Professor Cathie Sherrington and Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann

For more information on this George Institute for Global Health trial, please contact Julieann Coombes. This study is funded through the NHMRC.

The intention of the trial is to keep older patients active, independent and engaged with the community by focusing on falls prevention.

This study aims to engage a whole of primary care approach to fall prevention by integrating processes and pathways into general practitioner practices, and programming health professionals to identify older people at risk of falls. This program will focus on people 65 years or older, who have fallen in the past year or are worried about falling, and who reside in the community. The iSolve intervention is a clinical decision tool for general practitioners to provide tailored management plans for elderly patients who have a high risk of falls. It also provides a directory of fall prevention service providers in the patient’s local area.

This study is no longer recruiting participants.

Principal Investigator: Professor Lindy Clemson (University of Sydney)

Institute for Musculoskeletal Health Investigator: Professor Cathie Sherrington

For more information about this University of Sydney trial, please visit the iSOLVE website or contact Professor Lindy Clemson. The study has received ethics approval from the University of Sydney and funding from the NHMRC.

ACTRN12615000401550

Theme leader: Professor Cathie Sherrington

BAppSc (Phty), MPH, PhD, FAAHMS​

Professor Cathie Sherrington is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She has a clinical background as a physiotherapist in aged care and rehabilitation. Her research focuses on the promotion of physical activity to prevent falls and enhance mobility.