As you age, your risk of falling increases thanks to small changes that occur to all the systems that help keep you upright and mobile — your vision, muscles, brain and central nervous system.
One in four seniors falls each year, which results in over two million injuries treated in emergency rooms each year. Despite these alarming statistics and the fact that changes occur to several body systems as we age, falling is not a normal part of the aging process.
In addition to physical injuries, experiencing a fall can create a fear of falling. This fear can limit your physical activities and set you up for subsequent falls and other issues. Whether you have experienced a fall or simply want to improve your mobility, these fall prevention exercises can help reduce the risk of falling.
Fall Prevention Exercises to Try
How to do them: Stand behind a chair and hold on to its back with both hands. With your feet hip width apart, raise your heels off the floor. Hold, then lower your feet back to the floor. Do this exercise 10 times.
What it does: Makes your calf and ankle muscles stronger
How to do them: Stand behind a chair and hold on to its back with both hands. Slowly lift your right leg to the side about six inches, hold and return your leg
to the floor. Repeat ten times with both legs.
What it does: Makes your thigh muscles stronger and may decrease knee pain.
How to do them: Sit in a straight-back chair and put one foot on a low stool in front of you. Straighten the leg on the stool and reach your hand toward your foot. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then repeat five to 10 times on each leg.
What it does: Stretches your hamstrings, which can make it easier to move around
How to do them: Stand with your feet together, and slowly roll your upper body down so your fingers go toward your toes. If you can’t touch your toes, don’t worry. Only go as far as your body will allow. Try to keep your legs straight while stretching, then roll back up. Repeat 10 times.
What it does: Stretches your hamstrings and back, which can help improve mobility.
How to do it: Sit in a chair with arms. Brace yourself on the chair’s arms and push your butt up. When doing this, try to use as little help from your lower body as you can. Lower yourself back to a seated position. Repeat 10 times.
What it does: Helps prevent backwards falls by strengthening your legs and core, which can give you better balance.
Reduce your fall risk by trying these other activities in addition to the fall prevention exercises above:
- Tai Chi