Build strength and bal­ance to pre­vent falls

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Southern Alberta - COUR­TESY AHS

Falls are the lead­ing cause of in­jury among older adults. Our bod­ies nat­u­rally change with age which af­fects how we feel, move, and be­have. The older we get, the greater the risk of fall­ing.

Most falls can be avoided by tak­ing steps to re­duce the risks. Se­niors can pre­vent falls by iden­ti­fy­ing rea­sons re­lated to their health or en­vi­ron­ment that could cause them to fall. Hav­ing your med­i­ca­tions re­viewed yearly, vis­it­ing your eye doc­tor for an an­nual checkup, wear­ing sup­port­ive foot wear, and mak­ing your home safer by re­mov­ing trip­ping haz­ards and im­prov­ing light­ing are all great things you can do. So is chal­leng­ing your bal­ance, build­ing strength, and be­ing ac­tive.

Novem­ber is Falls Preven­tion month across Canada and this year’s cam­paign fo­cuses on the fact that you’re never too old to start be­ing ac­tive and no mat­ter what your abil­i­ties are to­day, you can al­ways im­prove your strength and bal­ance to pre­vent a fall.

As an older adult, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is one of the most im­por­tant things you can do for your health. It can pre­vent many of the health prob­lems that seem to come with age. It also helps your mus­cles grow stronger so you can keep do­ing your day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties with­out be­com­ing de­pen­dent on oth­ers.

Older adults with mus­cle weak­ness are 4-5 times more likely to fall, so aim for 30 min­utes or more of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity at least 5 days each week. Walk­ing, danc­ing, swim­ming and gar­den­ing are great ways to be ac­tive. Work on your bal­ance by con­trol­ling your move­ments. Try reach­ing while stand­ing, toe and heel raises, step­ping in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, step ups or half squats. Yoga and tai chi are also great ac­tiv­i­ties to try. Build strength by do­ing ex­er­cises for your leg mus­cles. Use bands, weights, or your own body weight to do things like ham­string curls and side leg lifts.

Choose some­thing you like to do as you are more likely to stick to it.

Re­mem­ber, it’s never too late to start.

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