As we grow older, our risk of a fall unfortunately increases. This is especially the case for those over the age of 65. A major consequence of a fall can be a fracture of the bone, often to the neck of the femur. This can have a spiraling effect on the individual’s confidence to engage with society and often leads to them isolating themselves in their home. In turn, a fall can have a significant effect on the individual’s quality of life and often leaves them and their family members with uncertainty on how to manage this risk. Fortunately, targeted exercise interventions have been shown to reduce your risk of a fall, boost people’s confidence levels and re-engage with society.
So, what are the benefits of exercise for falls prevention?
Studies have shown that exercise can significantly reduce both the rate and the risk of falling. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
To help reduce the risk of falls, exercise programs should incorporate the following:
- Exercises that challenge your balance,
- Resistance exercises that strengthen muscles we use for posture and walking,
- Targeted exercises such as weight-bearing and progressive bone loading.
Top Three Exercises to Do at Home
Description: Bring your arms out to the side, slowly place one foot in front of the other by moving your back foot to the front. Repeat this step with the other foot. Perform for however long as you deem appropriate.
If you are unable to place one foot in front of the other, aim for each foot to be as close as possible together. As a safety precaution, ensure that you have a wall or bench as support in case you do lose your balance.
Sit to stand
Description: Starting in a seated position, form an X shape across your chest and place your feet hip width apart. From this, slowly stand up. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps.
If you are unable stand up with your hands across your chest, place your hands on the couch/chair and use them to assist you in standing up. An alternate option to making the exercise easier is to perform the exercise from a higher chair.
Static balance on a soft surface
Description: Slowly step on to the chosen surface (e.g. cushion, pillow, scrunched up towel, blanket, foam). If needed, hold on to a stable surface (e.g. bench, pole) until you have regained your balance. Slowly remove one hand at a time until you can stand on the surface without holding on to anything. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat twice.
If you are unable to stand on the soft surface without holding on to something, keep one hand on the bench/pole/chair etc. Base your balance on how much your feet are ‘wobbling’ i.e. you want to see your feet ‘wobbling’.
Some progression options include closing your eyes whilst standing on the soft surface or performing the exercise on one leg at a time.
Here at Adaptive, we offer tailor made services that aim to develop strategies to prevent falls and fall-related injuries. The services we offer can be either 1:1 and/or in a group class setting.
What does the class involve?
- An initial 1:1 consultation (health history, falls risk and lower limb strength assessments)
- One (1) hour exercise class specifically tailored to the individual
- Group class may include up to seven (7) participants.
What to bring
- Health history from your GP (if able)
- Drink bottle
- Enclosed shoes
You may be eligible for reduced rate exercise classes from $8 per session. Exercise Right for Active Ageing is a national program designed for older Australians over 65. Funding from the Australian Government’s Move it AUS – Better Ageing Grants Program subsidises 12 group exercise classes. Click on the link below to learn more about the Better Ageing program.
Written by Kyle Beavis