There are plenty of reasons why as we get older our chances of falling increases. Falls could result in multiple factors such as side effects from certain medications, a sedentary lifestyle, vision problems, balance problems and the natural gradual muscle weakness that occur in the lower legs as we get older.
According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 seniors fall each year and about 1 in 5 falls result in a serious injury. So, what can you do to help prevent falling? You may want to start considering exercising.
Libby Bergman, a physical therapist from North Carolina says that “as we age and become more sedentary, we slowly lose our balance skills.” To combat a sedentary lifestyle, Bergman and other expert physical therapists suggest the following exercises:
- stand with your back in a corner of a room and put a sturdy chair in front of you.
- make sure you are standing in between the wall and chair without touching either.
- try and hold this move for one full minute, only using the wall or chair to correct your balance if needed.
- position your feet to stand with one foot in front of the other (like you’re balancing on a balance beam)
- only tap your surroundings if you need to re-adjust your balance if you need to
- hold this exercise for 30 seconds and repeat it up to 3 times
- position your feet to walk with one foot in front of the other (like you’re walking on a balance beam)
- count how many steps you can get in before having to hold onto something for balance
- try to increase the number of steps each time
- get on all fours on the floor with your palms facing down
- push your glutes to your heels
- put your forehead to the floor and hold pose for 10 seconds
- rise back up to all fours
- sit in a sturdy chair that does not have wheels and keep your feet flat on the ground
- Sit close to the edge of the chair to where your bottom is at the edge of the seat
- push your weight through your legs and rise into a standing position
- once standing, slowly sit back down
- repeat 5 times
Standing Dual Heel Raises
- stand next to a counter and place both hands on top of the counter
- put your feet shoulder-width apart and stand on your tiptoes
- do 10 of these in a row
**this exercise requires a small step stool or a bottom stair of a staircase with a handrail**
- start with both feet on the ground and your hand supported on a hand rail or counter
- step up onto your right foot, then your left foot follows
- step back down in the same order
- do 10 of these on each side
**this exercise requires you to lay on your back**
- lay on your back and bend both knees shoulder-width apart
- brace your hands palm down and lift your hips toward the ceiling
- squeeze glute muscles and pause at top
These exercises are known to help improve overall balance and strength. More information on these exercises and benefits can be found here.