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Talk about retro comebacks…
Remember these iconic fitness trends from the 70’s and 80’s? They’ve returned with a few modern twists:
There’s one thing that never goes out of style in the quest to stay fit, strong and independent and to avoid the number one cause of death among seniors –– falls.
Read on to learn about the connection between building balance and avoiding falls.
Move A Little, Gain A Lot
Recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Exercise Guidelines show that regular physical activity contributes to:
And a lower risk of falling.
36 Million Reasons Why You Should Improve Your Balance
It’s never been more important to focus on balance. New data from the CDC finds that:
AgeRight’s Approach –– Building Balance, Building Confidence
AgeRight’s physical and occupational therapists specialize in creating tailored exercise programs that increase strength, endurance, balance and a big shot of confidence.
“Many patients are told that at their age, they can’t do certain activities. I like to validate my patients that they are much stronger than people have led them to believe. Our goal is to make patient’s feel safe within their homes and return to activities that they once enjoyed.”
“I see 20-30 patients a week in their homes and most of them are recovering from an acute medical episode or for recurrent falls. First, we determine overall risk factors; medication interactions, psychosocial status, specific medical conditions like low blood sugar levels that are contributing to falls and then we build an individualized program to improve quality of life. Our goal is the pursuit of happiness and building better balance is a key component in that!”
So, let’s get started with the first of 4 tips to improve your balance, recommended by the CDC, the Physical Activity Guidelines for America and from our own Sarah Shearer-Smith, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA, RAC-CTA. Sarah is Consonus Healthcare’s long-time Northwest Director of Clinical Services and one of a small number of clinicians in the US who is recognized as a trained geriatric specialist in physical therapy.
(An important disclaimer: Consult with your doctor before beginning or changing any activity program. Physical/occupational therapists can also be invaluable supports and experts: helping to identify which condition- or disease-specific guideline might be safest for you, what are the safest and most comfortable positions and modifications for exercises, if there are best times for exercise due to certain medications, and what are the recommended types/intensities/frequencies/and durations for each exercise.)
Tip #1 Warm Up/Cool Down
Want to avoid injuries? Warm-ups and cool-downs, with lower-intensity activities, are essential for the best circulation, breathing, and/or muscle demand to build up gradually. They also allow you to safely slow down after your workout.
The CDC and National Exercise guidelines for lower intensity and speed exercises include walking in water before water aerobics, walking slower before walking faster, walking before jogging, using lower weights or multi-joint movement exercises like standing on one foot and doing bicep curls. Ballroom dancing is another multi-joint movement exercise –– combining balance and aerobics.
Tip #2 Strengthen Your Sensory Abilities
Think of all the daily situations you’re in where the risk of falling is heightened: getting in and out of a vehicle or chair, navigating a narrow path, stepping over a threshold, walking to the bathroom in the dark, going up and down stairs and moving side to side. These exercises will help you mitigate those risky situations.
Your Footing: How long can you balance on one foot? If you’re in your 50’s, you should be able to stand on one leg for around 40 seconds; 20 seconds if you’re in your 60’s; and 10 seconds if you’re 70 and older. Why is that important?
A recent study suggests the inability to balance for 10 seconds on one leg is linked to an increased risk of death within ten years. Here’s how to get to your 10 seconds –– and beyond! Complete these exercises standing at a counter or table with eyes open. Place a chair behind you for added security.
In our next blog we’ll get your heart racing with our last two tips to improve your balance –– aerobic activity and strength shaping.
So, get started on your road to building balance and avoiding falls –– with or without the legwarmers!