Better Balance to stay Falls Free:
With 1 in 3 community dwelling adults >65years old and 1 in 2 living in aged care experiencing falls this is an area in need of attention and a multi-disciplinary approach. In January and March this year I attended some workshops run by the Sydney North Health Network and a research group called iSolve fall prevention project from Sydney University. These workshops are running in line with education for GPs and Allied Health Professionals to address the dreaded ‘F’ word: Falls. Falls can be hugely debilitating and have a high personal cost such as loss of independence, loss of mobility, loss of confidence and a higher need for ongoing care post falls.
As an Exercise Physiologist I have always been one for a proactive approach to help and trying to prevent some of these long term health issues as early on as possible. Research shows that there are some factors that put you at a high risk of falls but that exercise plays a major role in preventing falls among older adults.
I have worked with a range of clients in their own home, at the clinic and running group exercise classes within retirement villages through our Active Ageing Program to help increase their strength and improve their balance.
Research suggests that the following factors are important in an exercise program to stay falls free:
· High intensity balance exercise is important: meaning the balance exercise should be challenging.
· High dose of exercise. One study demonstrated that 2hours per week was a high dose of exercise that was effective. This can be made up from a specific falls prevention exercise class 1-2 times per week and 2-3days of 30mins targeted exercise on the other days
· Strength training is important for function and maintain quality of life and strength for daily tasks
The safest way of doing these types of exercises is in a supervised exercise session with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who can ensure the right exercises are suited to your current fitness level, injuries and any health conditions. Everyone is different and targeted exercise programs are the most effective.
Some great exercises to improve your strength and balance can be built into your daily life:
· Sit to Stand from a chair: each time you are getting up from the dining room table or the couch (harder option) try and get up and sit back down 8-10 times to improve your leg strength
· While ironing or waiting for the microwave to go off stand and one leg and practice your balance exercises
· If you have a long hallway at home why not try the tandem walk: walk heel toe down the hallway as if you are walking on a tightrope
· Do you have steps at home with a railing? Hold onto the railing for safety and practice step ups 10 reps on each leg
· Try out calf raises when brushing your teeth in the morning: going up onto your toes and down for 10 reps. If needed hold onto the bathroom sink for balance.
Talk to us today about seeing one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists to improve your strength and balance and stay falls free. If you live in a retirement village or are part of a community group interested in our Active Ageing programs please contact us on 0419 287 631 or email@example.com