Balance exercises that reduce the risk of falls

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Balance exercises that reduce your risk of falls

The test of time is not easy on our bodies. Whether it’s your ability to complete household tasks, or simply walk to the shops, frailty can become a problem. One aspect of your physical health that often goes unnoticed, however, is the increased risk of falls that comes with frailty.

The risk of falls increases significantly as we age, but why? Simply put, the physical and cognitive changes associated with age impact our ability to maintain an upright posture, use our small and sensitive stabilising muscles, and slow our reactions to prevent a fall from occurring in the first place.

Falls can lead to injury, with 37.3 million falls resulting in some form of medical attention according to the World Health Organization. This can be particularly troublesome for people living with diabetes, considering some of the factors that can occur with foot health and sensation.

So, considering the importance of preventing a fall, what can you do?

Simply put, exercise! The degeneration in those stabilising muscles and the cognitive changes that occur can’t be stopped, but they can be managed and reversed to the best of our ability through physical activity.

Here are our Top FIVE exercises to reduce the risk of falls in seniors

The Single Leg Balance

Tandem Walk

Sit to Stand

Side Leg Raise

Calf Raises

Watch a video explaining the calf raise and sit to stand exercises.

Important considerations

  • Safety is the most important aspect

Similar to the general risk of falls, completing balance exercises without ensuring the area is safe can increase your risk of injury. Make sure you’ve cleared the area of any potential trip hazards or objects that may cause harm. Perform balance exercises with appropriate safety measures considered, such as using a chair, bed, or wall for support.

  • Balance exercises can often become a mental challenge as well as physical

Balance exercises require patience. It’s important to start slowly, not only for your own safety, but to ensure you stick to your goals and improve your balance in the long term.

  • Know your limits

Try not to get frustrated if you can’t quite hold a pose or complete an exercise without a few stumbles! It might be a good indicator for you to try something a little bit easier, and slowly work up to where you would like to be. For example, if you’re unable to hold a Single Leg Balance, try a Tandem Stance without walking first. Or if it’s too simple, try throwing a ball up and down, or slowly looking in different directions.

 

Balance and falls risk is an important aspect of your overall health and wellbeing. Taking a few minutes out of each day to complete balance exercises could be the difference between a potential fall or not.

If you have any issues or concerns about completing the above-mentioned exercises, consult with your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

 

Written by Jonathon Fermanis

 

Keywords: Exercisemove

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