Keep in Balance to Avoid Falls

HealthLink: News You Can Use

March 28, 2018

Keep in Balance to Avoid Falls

Here’s a startling statistic: More than one-third of people ages 65 and older fall each year. 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury such as a head trauma or a fracture. “Poor balance or a fear of falling can limit a person’s mobility, making it difficult to get around, perform daily activities, or live independently,” says Tapan Kikani PT., PhD VP of Rehab Services at Holy Redeemer.

An evaluation of gait, strength and balance is part of the fall risk screening performed by our primary care physicians. Individuals at high risk are referred to Physical Therapy to enhance their functional mobility and improve strength and balance. “A comprehensive physical therapy evaluation that also encompasses the vestibular system helps determine the program needed for the individual to improve their stability when standing and walking,” says John Tracey PT, Manager of Sports Medicine.

Another Type of Workout

You hear a lot about cardio and strength exercise. Balance exercise doesn’t get nearly as much attention. Yet it’s vitally important, too.

“Just as walking briskly and riding a bike are great for your cardio health, some physical activities are particularly good for your balance,” says Bob Catalini Exercise Physiologist and Manager of Fitness Center. A low impact exercises, like Yoga and Tia Chi can help maintain balance and flexibility. It is also great for focus, concentration, and emotional well being.

Chair Rise Exercise

Try this exercise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What it does: Strengthens the muscle in your thighs and buttocks.

Goal: To do this exercise without using your hands as you become stronger.

How to do it:

  • 1. Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • 2. Rest your hands lightly on the seat of either side of you, keeping your back and neck straight, and chest slightly forward.
  • 3. Breathe in slowly. Lean forward and feel your weight on the front of your feet.
  • 4. Breathe out, and slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
  • 5. Pause for a full breath in and out.
  • 6. Breathe in as you slowly sit down. Do not let yourself collapse back down into the chair. Rather, control your lowering as much as possible.
  • 7. Breathe out.

Repeat 10 to 15 times. If this number is too hard for you when you first start practicing this exercise, begin with few and work up to this number. Rest for a minute, then do a final set of 10 to 15.

To learn more about Holy Redeemer Orthopedics, click here.

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