Finding Balance (and falls prevention)

The single biggest issue that will impact health and fitness in later years is falls prevention.  One out of every three older adults (those aged 65 or older) has a fall each year.

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non fatal injuries with non fatal injuries including fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand.

Many people who fall, even if they are not injured in the process, develop a fear of falling which in turn may lead them to limit their activities.  This can create a catch 22 situation where as activities are limited, mobility is restricted leading to an overall reduction in fitness and strength which in turns increases the likelihood of a fall.

We’re at a unique time in history where we have the chance to live longer than ever before, which makes it imperative that those later years are quality years with health, vitality and mobility becoming really important issues to maintain.

Simple strategies to maintain health and wellbeing include monitoring medications.  Speak to your Doctor or pharmacist about side effects of your current medications, ensure that multiple medications are consistent with each other and won’t cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.

Ladies, tragic news for the shoe lovers among you, it may be time to reduce the height of those stilettos! As we age, our feet naturally become wider and flatter.  Our arches naturally drop a little, so it’s worthwhile getting your shoes properly fitted and your feet assessed by a podiatrist.  Shoes need to be comfortable and supportive.  High heels dramatically reduce your stability, adversely affect your pelvic tilt and spinal alignment and are a recipe for falls.

Have your eyes tested regularly and check that you have glasses that make it easy for you to keep active in and around the home.  Single vision distance glasses may make it easier for you to walk outside and perform other fitness activities.

And obviously it’s important to look at your environment and ensure that your home is safe for you.  Do you need to improve lighting, install grab bars in the bath or shower, improve railings on staircases or verandas?

Have you reviewed your nutrition to make sure you’re getting adequate calcium and essential vitamins from both food and supplements?  Osteoporosis is a huge contributing factor in hip fractures so have your bone density checked and adjust your nutrition accordingly and make sure that weight bearing exercise forms a key part of your daily activity.

And most of all -keep moving! 

If you suffer from arthritis or just general stiffness, it’s tempting to restrict movement – but that’s not the answer. Joints are “greased” by movement, so the stiffer you are, the MORE you need to move.

Workouts should include agility movements; movements in a side plane (like stepping jacks) or lateral lunges; exercises that focus on leg strength and ankle stability; and movements that promote cardiovascular fitness without adding excessive impact on your joints.

The Doctor designed program “Never Grow Old” is full of workouts that promote strength, flexibility and fitness for people over the age of 50.  Follow along videos ensure your technique is correct and safe and that you’re getting the best out of the workout.  You’ll find your balance and much more in this very comprehensive fitness program designed for anyone who refuses to grow old!

dan r functional fit 4

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