You probably know that staying active through regular exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise keeps your energy levels high, eases the daily pain, gets your blood flowing and can even improve your mood. However, there’s another very important reason to get moving: certain exercises can decrease your risk of a debilitating fall.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. In fact, one in four Americans age 65 and up fall every year, and over 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falls. Additionally, after you break your hip, your chances of falling again increase by 53 percent.
You might fall because you are experiencing side effects from certain medications you’re taking, or perhaps you can’t see as well as you used to. Home hazards like loose wires or throw rugs are often to blame for falls, too. Or, it might be that your bones and muscles have weakened over the years, and your reduced strength makes you more susceptible to slipping or tripping. As you age, the systems of your body that detect gravity and body positioning can become less effective, too. You can see why keeping your body strong as you age is so important to maintaining your overall health and safety.
The good news is that it’s never too late to improve your balance and reduce your risk of a fall. Adding a few balance exercises that can be done out of the comfort of your home, with little to no equipment, will enhance your physical coordination and decrease your chances of falling. If you’re just starting out, make sure to contact your doctor to discuss any limitations you might have. You should also be sure to mention if you’ve fallen previously, as half of all seniors who fall fail to tell their doctor this important fact. This could mean that injuries went untreated and your balance could be worse than the doctor knows. Keep yourself safe by following any instructions or advice your doctor may give you.
Before beginning any exercise, make sure to do a brief warmup to loosen your joints and prepare your muscles for activity. Your warmup should include some light stretches and marching in place to elevate your heart rate gradually.
Here are a few of the best balance exercises for seniors to incorporate into their daily routine:
At Peabody Retirement Community, you’ll enjoy countless opportunities to improve your balance and fitness at the Billie Jane Strauss Wellness Center. Test your balance on the Biodex Balance System® SD to pinpoint your individual risk factors, then allow our staff to tailor a personalized program to decrease that risk and improve your balance. Our best-in-class fitness center provides one-on-one attention from a personal trainer and plenty of classes that improve all eight dimensions of wellness. Please contact us today to learn more about our vibrant senior living community in North Manchester, Indiana.