3 million older people are send to the emergency room every year for fall injuries. About 800,000 of these patients are hospitalized because of their fall and every 20 minutes an elderly adult dies from a fall. Falls happen, no matter what your age is, but the truth is- the older you are, the more susceptible you are to experiencing a fall. If you are 65 years old or older, you are at risk. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has pegged that 1 out of every three older adults fall every year and a staggering 1/5 falls result in a severe injury, such as broken bones and head injury.
The fear of falling may lead older adults to limit their activities and experience physical decline, like weakness and balance issues. The fear of falling can also greatly limit someone’s independence. However, if there is one thing BeneFIT PT knows for sure, it is never too late to start protecting yourself against falling. The age-related changes that might make you a little less nimble and prone to falling can be strengthened and improved.
Basic balance exercises
- Balance on one foot
- Stand in front of a sturdy support, such as a countertop.
- Stand on one foot in front of the sturdy support and hold for balance.
- Once balance is obtained, slowly release your hands or one hand if balance is difficult while standing on one foot.
- Hold that position for 10 seconds and repeat ten times on each foot.
- Balance with one foot in front of the other
- In font of your countertop, position the heel of one foot in front of your toes of the other foot.
- Your heel and toe should be almost touching or touching.
- Once in position and balance is obtained, release your hands or just one hand if difficult.
- Hold position for 10 seconds and repeat ten times then switch the position of your feet.
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Basic strength exercises
- Standing back leg raise
- Make sure to stand in front of a sturdy position, such as, in front of a countertop.
- Feet should be slightly shoulder-width apart holding the countertop for balance.
- Lift one leg directly back without bending your knee or pointing your toes.
- Make sure your back stays nice and straight, without leaning forward when your kicking leg is back.
- Return to starting position.
- Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
- Standing side leg raise
- Take position in front of a sturdy position as in the back leg raise.
- With your feet slightly shoulder width apart, lift one leg directly out to the side keeping your toes pointing forward.
- Return to starting position.
- Perform three rounds of 10 repetitions on each side.
These balance and strengthening exercises are sure to help the elderly maintain some of their stability and strength into their golden years. Always make sure to consult with your doctor before exercising to discover if these exercises are a good fit for you.
Remember, balance is more than just standing on one leg. Working on your muscular strength, endurance and your core all play a vital role in keeping you more stable. If you would like to learn more about how BeneFIT Physical Therapy can help you, please give us a call. We will develop and progress you through a customized balance program that is tailored just for you!