Monday, August 24, 2015

4 Fall Prevention Activities for Seniors

by Vee Cecil/guest post
For seniors, one of the best ways to reduce fall risk is to get plenty of exercise. Unfortunately, a new study from the United Health Foundation found that one-third of seniors aren’t getting enough physical activity.

Dancing for Life
I truly believe not exercising played a role in my father-in-law’s recent fall. For the most part, he has been in good health, and so any time we suggested he work more physical activity into his daily routine he always assured us that he was healthy as a horse and didn’t need to. But one misstep landed him in the hospital. Thankfully, he only had a broken wrist, but I think had he had the benefit of some balance and agility exercises he might have been able to stop the fall. As part of his recovery, he’s started walking each day with a buddy/neighbor of his, and I can tell it has made a difference for him both physically and mentally.

If you’re a senior who isn’t getting enough exercise, here a few great exercises for fall prevention:

Increase your strength. If you don’t have a clue which type of physical activity will work best for you, these 11 fall prevention exercises are a great place to start. The article also includes advice on how to work your way up to doing the exercises with a 4-lb cuff weight. And here’s some good news: These exercises aren’t just great for fall prevention. According to the CDC, these kinds of strength training exercises also lessen the “signs and symptoms” of the following diseases—arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression.

Go for a swim. Swimming isn’t just for the summer. It’s a great year-round way to get a full-body workout. As this article notes, it’s an activity that works well for seniors because it builds muscle strength, improves bone density, and is easy on the joints. The pool also offers a safe place to work on balance exercises. With the support of the water, you don’t have to worry about toppling over or risking a fall while you’re working out.

Try tai chi. You may have seen a Tai Chi class taking place in a local park or community center. As this article from Harvard Medical School notes, it is an “ancient Chinese practice” that helps participants build strength and get a cardio workout through slow, controlled movements. The article also explains that the practice is an excellent way to work on your balance. In fact, it points out that tai chi can “reduce falls in seniors by up to 45 percent.”

Hit the dance floor. There’s no reason why your exercise routine can’t be fun. In fact, if you do enjoy it, it’s more likely you’ll keep it up. So, why not shake your groove thing! As this article from notes, because it focuses on improving “balance and gait,” dancing is a great way for seniors to reduce their risk of falling. It’s also a fun way to spend some time socializing with others.

Making exercise a regular part of your routine is an incredible way to change your life in many positive ways. Yes, you’ll reduce your chances of falling. But you’ll also be making immense improvements to your physical and mental health in the process.

Vee Cecil is a wellness advocate for both human and four-legged creatures. She is a fitness instructor in Kentucky where she lives with her family. She recently launched a blog where she shares her favorite health tips, tricks and recipes.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your tips and suggestions. There is another great way of exercising for the seniors. Get exercise bike for the seniors adults and train them to exercise indoors. It would be more flexible for them, I think so.