Risks and Benefits of Judo Training for Middle-Aged and Older People

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Palumbo F, Ciaccioni S, Guidotti F, Forte R, Sacripanti A, Capranica L, Tessitore A. Risks and Benefits of Judo Training for Middle-Aged and Older People: A Systematic Review. Sports (Basel). 2023 Mar 14;11(3):68.


This systematic overview aimed to review studies investigating the benefits and risks of judo training in older people, and to explore practical methodological applications (Registration ID: CRD42021274825). Searches of EBSCOhost, ISI-WoS, and Scopus databases, with no time restriction up to December 2022, resulted in 23 records meeting the inclusion criteria. A quality assessment was performed through the following tools: ROBINS-I for 10 experimental studies, NIH for 7 observational studies, and AGREE-II for 6 methodological studies. A serious risk of bias emerged for 70% of the experimental studies, whereas 100% of the observational and 67% of the methodological studies presented a “fair” quality. When involving 1392 participants (63 ± 12 years; females: 47%), the studies investigated novice (n = 13), amateur/intermediate (n = 4), expert (n = 4), and unknown (n = 3) level judoka by means of device-based, self-reported, and visual evaluation measures. Mean training encompassed 2 ± 1 sessions. week-1of 61 ± 17 min for 7 ± 6 months. In relation to judo training exposure and outcomes, three main themes emerged: (i) health (56% of studies; e.g., bones, anthropometry, quality of life); (ii) functional fitness (43%; e.g., balance, strength, walking speed); and iii) psychosocial aspects (43%; e.g., fear of falling, cognition, self-efficacy). Although the included studies presented relevant methodological weaknesses, the data support the positive effects of judo training with advancing age. Future research is needed to help coaches plan judo programs for older people.

Keywords: coaches; combat sports; judoka; martial arts; older individuals; successful aging.

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