How Exercise Works as a Fall Prevention Technique for Seniors
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A simple fall can do a lot of damage for seniors. In fact, it is currently the leading cause of injury and death for those over 65. However, there are numerous fall prevention techniques that can help reduce the risk of falling. Among the best options is exercise.
Why Exercise Works
While there are other factors that can contribute to fall prevention, US News found that exercise alone reduces the risk of fall by 21 percent. As your muscles and bones naturally begin to weaken, it is important to work on strengthening the largest and more powerful muscle groups like the glutes, quads, and triceps while performing single-leg balancing exercises. Just like regular exercise, a combination of aerobic and strength training is key to creating a well-rounded routine.
It is very important that you stay active as you age. While how long and how intense your workout is will be dependant on your physical ability, most experts agree that you should aim to work out five times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. As balance starts to become an issue, begin to incorporate balance exercises twice a week.
Take a Class
When getting started with any new exercise, a class setting is the best option. Instructors are there to guide you and ensure you are doing the moves correctly and safely, they will listen to your needs and make modifications. Exercises like yoga or tai chi greatly benefit from having an instructor to walk you through the steps.
Go for a Walk
Walking is one of the best exercises to do on your own. It is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that will keep you moving and help you stay independent. American Seniors Communities also notes that on top of fall prevention, walking can improve heart health, lower blood sugar, and reduce pain.
Build walking into your daily routine. A great way to do this is to enlist a friend or even walk your dog. Dog walking, whether your own dog or someone else’s, is an excellent motivation in encouraging you to move. Additionally, doga (aka dog yoga) has grown in popularity in recent years, so consider enrolling your pooch in a class to get you both up and exercising.
It can be a lot to attend a class every day, but that does not mean you can skip out on your daily exercise. Plenty of workout routines require little more than a chair that you can do indoors from the comfort of your own home. Repetitive exercises like chair sit to stand, side leg raise, toe to heel, and balance on one leg are great ways to stay active on your own.
If you feel like you need a little more guidance, there is a plethora of online videos and DVDs that you can use to walk through a routine. If you own a Nintendo Wii or know someone who does, you can use it to play some fitness games. If you are feeling uncomfortable or uncertain, do not be afraid to employ a spotter, especially when you are just learning.
Other Fall Preventions
Remember that exercise is not the only thing you can do as a method of fall prevention. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are eating a proper diet. Plenty of vitamin D, protein, and calcium are necessary. Do not be afraid to go over your prescriptions with your doctor either. Many medications can cause poor balance. Work with your physician to lessen your doses or get off the ones you no longer need.
The Balancing Act
Exercise is necessary for any age, but as you get older, it can also play a significant role in fall prevention. It will also keep you healthier and encourage you to be social — there is no reason you need to work out by yourself. Use fall prevention as an excuse to get out stay active.