Your Upland physical therapist thoughts on balance.
As we get older, our fear of falling increases. So balance, like any other activity, decreases if we don’t address it. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every hour, fall-related injuries send more than 180 older adults to the emergency room and at least one of those adults will die.
French researchers analyzed the effect of fall-prevention exercises on senior’s risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Overall, exercise programs reduced falls that caused injuries by 37%, falls that cause serious injuries by 43%, and broken bones by 61%.
Fall risk is determined by several things: physical fitness level, mental and emotional well-being and chronological age. Simply being an “older adult” does not mean you are at risk for falls. What has been proven is that balance and exercise programs reduce the risk of fall-related serious injury.
Balance and Injury: although balance training is the mainstay of fall prevention programs, any exercise that improves endurance, muscle strength and flexibility can help prevent falls and related injuries. Multi-component exercises provide the following:
*Faster reaction Time: this helps you keep yourself upright
*Improve coordination: this can help you “roll” rather than “crash” as you go down
*More muscle: stronger and larger muscles can buffer the impact to protect bones and soft tissue
*Stronger bones: resistance training strengthens bones and stronger bones are more resistance to fractures
*Better brain function: regular exercise helps maintain brain function as we age.
Clearer thinking may help avoid situations that increase fall risk.
Are you susceptible for falls? Take this quick test to determine if you need to add fall preventions exercises to you program. How long can you balance on each leg?
Single Leg Balance Test:
–28 seconds 25-30 years old
–22 seconds 30-35 years old
–16 seconds 40 years old
–12 seconds 45 years old
— 9 seconds 50 years old
— 8 seconds 55 years old
— 7 seconds 60 years old
— 6 seconds 65 years old
— 4 seconds 70 years old