Approximately one-third of Australians aged 65 years and over fall every year, with even higher rates for people in aged-care facilities and hospitals.
Falls can result in permanent disability, restriction of activity, loss of confidence and fear of falling, all of which reduce the quality of life and independence.
Risk factors for falls include:
- Older age
- History of falls
- Poor balance
- Slow reaction time
- Muscle weakness
- Poor eyesight
- Reduced sensation in upper and lower limbs
- Limitations in activities of daily living (e.g. feeding and dressing oneself)
- Medical conditions (e.g. stroke and Parkinson’s disease);
- Some medication use
Factors that increase falls risk:
- Chronic Disease
- Reduced muscle strength
- Decreased mobility
- Poor balance
- Lack of coordination
All of these factors are modifiable through exercise.
Falls and Balance
Do you need help to improve your balance and prevent falls?
Targeted exercises can ensure you have adequate muscle strength to avoid feeling unsteady. Having enough of the right nutrients to build body strength is also vital to reduce your risk of falling and prepare your body to avoid serious injury if you were to fall.
Although we can’t see them, our bones need TLC!
Having adequate amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin D depending on age and gender can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and prevent further bone loss.
Specific exercises can improve our bone strength and help to support the muscles attached to our bones.
Benefits of Exercise for Falls Prevention
There is strong evidence to suggest that exercise prevents falls in older people by decreasing a number of key risk factors.
Exercise can improve muscular strength, balance, balance confidence and walking speed, as well as psychological factors such as mental ability and mood.
Exercise programs should include balance-oriented exercises, as well as general strengthening and cardiovascular fitness. Undertaking regular exercise will assist in the prevention of falls, however has many other benefits for an individual’s overall health.
Please check out these exercises that you can do at home demonstrated by our Accredited Exercise Physiologist Courtney that can assist you with falls prevention.
Falls Prevention Exercises that You Can Do at Home
1. Static balance (feet together, half tandem, tandem)
2. Step tap
3. Dynamic weight shift
Here at Your Health Hub, our Allied Health Practitioners can deliver classes in the prevention of falls to give you a piece of mind so that you can exercise safely and enjoy the benefits.