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Did you know that falls are the leading killer of seniors, with one in five falls resulting in death in seniors over 85? There are many ways to reduce the risk of such falls, including increasing strength and balance.
Strength and balance are imperative in not only preventing a fall but also reducing the severity of a potential fall. For example, younger seniors with high levels of strength and balance are often able to catch themselves before an impending fall, whereas older seniors, with less strength and slower reaction times, often cannot.
Though many seniors often avoid exercise as they fear they will injure themselves, sensible exercise is one one of the best ways to prevent injuries, especially from falls as it can improve strength and balance.
So what exercises are most effective in increasing and maintaining strength and balance? Experts suggest that yoga can help in improving balance. If seniors are not interested in participating in a yoga class, balance can be improved by simply practising either closing their eyes and balancing on one leg, walking heel to toe in a straight line, or rising up and down on their toes while standing and holding a stable chair or benchtop.
Experts also recommend strength training for older adults to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. The National Athletic Trainers Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons even say that exercise at any age, especially strength training, decreases the loss of bone density, keeps muscles strong and improves balance. Strength training can also reduce the risk of bone fractures and other injuries and can even help seniors recover faster if injured.
Examples of strength training activities include lifting weights or even resisting your body weight by doing household or garden chores. Essentially, anything that requires lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying or digging is a great activity for gaining strength.
Falls are the leading killer of seniors but can be prevented through both frequent strength and balance focused exercise activities.
It is imperative to not only reducing the risk of falls but also to preventing the severity of potential falls.