Reduce your risk of falls by nearly 25%

Monday, 6 September 2021

Resistance and balance training is an important form of exercise for anyone who wants to maintain a good quality of life. It can also massively reduce your risk of falls.

It’s of special significance as we age because of the associated improvements in bone mineral density (BMD) and the loss of muscle mass and strength associated with old age.

How to reduce your risk

When you exercise and practise resistance training, the bones become stronger and less susceptible to fracture, while muscle tissue is maintained. This helps with mobility and independence.

As the working age continues to increase with improvements in technology and modern medicine, we need to protect our independence, the ability to earn a living and the strength to be self-sufficient.

Research has shown post-menopausal women are at a substantially increased risk of bone loss with increasing age, specifically 1.1% per year between the ages of 70-79 and 2.1% per year after 80 years.

Predictor of hip fractures

There is also a significant association between the amount of time spent living with diabetes and decline in femoral neck BMD, a measure of the amount of minerals (mostly calcium and phosphorous) contained in a certain volume of bone. This measurement is a strong predictor of hip fracture susceptibility.

If you’re reading this article and previously attended gym classes or similar activities before Covid restrictions, you’re not alone if you’re struggling with less enthusiasm about daily physical activity.

Simple home exercises

We can’t replicate the atmosphere or social interactions you might have had in these environments, but your bodyweight can be an effective tool if you have the appropriate space available in your home. Exercising at home is how to reduce your risk.

Follow this link to see some simple exercises to do at home.

Balance training is also a staple in a well-rounded home exercise program, particularly if you want to reduce your risk of falls.

Research involving 25,000 people

Sherrington et al (2020) reviewed 116 papers involving more than 25,000 people over 65 years of age who engaged in structured balance exercise and found a 23% reduction in falls risk among these individuals.

As we know, individuals living with diabetes are at risk of developing complications such as peripheral neuropathy which can impair the nerve sensation in limbs, ultimately affecting balance and proprioception, also known as awareness of the position and movement of the body. .

It’s crucial you consider your own safety when performing these exercises. Ensure that you have a benchtop, chair or other form of equipment to hold onto in the event that you do lose your balance.

Never too late

It’s never too late to improve your physical fitness, even with minimal access to equipment.

The body responds to exercise regardless of an individual’s age and there are so many physical health benefits to enjoy.

If you are over 70 and living with chronic illness it’s always ideal to consult your general practitioner before starting on any new health or exercise regime.

We understand this is a challenging time for all.

If you would like to get in contact with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Accredited Dietitian or Credentialled Diabetes Educator call the NDSS helpline on 1800 637 700. We also have an in-house psychologist you can talk to. Ring 1800 177 055 to make an appointment for a free, confidential, over-the-phone discussion.

By Hayden Kelly

Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Join our community of over 45,000 people living with diabetes