Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Falls Prevention

senior-woman-breaking-hip
To fall or not to fall?    It’s not really a hard question to answer. I know I want to stay upright for as many years as I can. As you age you may have heard “ I’ve finally got my head together and now my body is falling apart”.    It doesn’t have to be that way but it is important to be aware that statistics show the risk of falling escalates around 65 years of age.   Falls prevention should start as young as 40+.

Causes
Deteriorated/deteriorating health – weight gain, blood pressure issues etc
Flexibility, mobility and strength loss associated with inactive ageing.
Lack of exercise leading to impaired balance – weakened core and stabilising muscles.
Gait changes eg shuffling walk and not lifting your feet.
Impaired visual acuity – bifocals, dim lighting, bright sunshine.
Environmental
Inappropriate footwear – thongs, slippers and loosely laced shoes
People traffic – busy shopping centres
Unfamiliar environment – creates caution and confusion
Uneven, loose or slippery floors – at home, foot paths, wet areas
How to prevent falls
Increasing muscle strength, flexibility and bone density and
Improving balance and gait.

The first step, starting today,  is to increase the strength and endurance in your legs because if they give way the only way you will be going is down.  Try the following movement opportunities:
Walking – anywhere
In the house, in the street
Parks the Jetty and Harbour area
With a friend or go solo

Then increase the intensity by:
Finding a gentle hill to walk up
Walking faster
Increase the distance
Picking up a dancing class or two
Attending classes specifically older adults

Next Increase your leg strength.  As I have said in previous articles, you lose 10% of muscle up to 55 then 40% more after that. Try some:
Step ups
Wall push ups
Rows with some cans, hand weights or resistance bands
Seated squats.
Don’t ignore your balance:
Try  hanging on to a table/ wall, standing on one leg, and as your balance improves you will find you can release your death grip.  Prepare your body for falling and you will find you don’t fall as easily as you think you will.

Stay active.  Keep moving.  Get out of the lounge chair.

Oh and by the way make sure you keep getting down on to the ground so you can practise getting up . You don’t want to be in a situation that if you do fall you can’t get up.  To summarize:
if you don’t use it you will lose it; and
falls prevention requires your attention!

Call Glen or Jacqui on 66586222 to organise a free session at Coffs Coast Health Club.

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