Most people take balance for granted; navigating each day without thinking or effort. Unfortunately, as you age, losing your balance is a common issue making older adults more susceptible to falls and injury. Sadly 30% of adults over the age of 65 experience at least one fall per year. In our travels so far I have had to help at least two people over the age of 55 off the ground, where they lost their balance on a seemingly innocent bit of ground. I really felt for them, not only were there external grazes, but the hidden joint and muscle bruising they may have sustained which might just ruin their plans for the next couple of days while they recover. But what if there was a way to prevent the falls from happening in the first place?
Amazingly, the number one activity for falls prevention in older Australian’s is exercise; but what type of exercise is best for preventing falls?
HOW MUCH EXERCISE?
As with all exercise, every individual is different, but a combination of various types of activities, including a walk on most days, will have the best outcome. For optimum results, try doing a little bit each day; even 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in evening. You could also try incorporating a few exercises while waiting for the kettle to boil, such as some calf raises while holding onto the kitchen bench. Or adding in some leg extensions or seated marches during the ad break of your favourite TV show.
TYPES OF EXERCISE FOR FALLS PREVENTION:
Maintaining strength is not only important to keep our muscles healthy, it also helps us perform daily activities (like getting out of a chair or stepping over something when we are out site seeing) and has an important role in maintaining balance. Resistance exercises can be performed using your body weight, resistance bands, or even using common household items like cans of food. Moving your muscle under a greater resistance promotes an increase in muscle mass and therefore great glucose uptake.
Declining balance is common as we age. Practicing both static balance and dynamic balance, in a range of different foot positions and environments are great ways to maintain and improve your balance.
Group exercises classes, including Tai Chi being, are a great option for balance training. In Queensland, the government have created the Stay on Your Feet Program to keep older Queenslanders active and independent.
GET THE “RIGHT” ADVICE
If you need help getting started or you’d like to get some professional advice specific to you, why not drop me a message. An a qualified personal trainer with a specialisation and keen interest in older adult training, I can help answer any questions you might have.
If you are interested in a program to increase your fitness, lose weight, increase muscle or improve any aspect of wellbeing such as mobility and flexibility, I can design a program specific to your needs via my Online Personal Coaching Program.
Join me my on my Facebook page Fit 4 the Road as I keep fit and healthy while traveling this great country.