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Staying on Your Feet

Center of Disease Control (CDC) has reported concerning statistics regarding unconventional injury among adults 65 and older in 2012-2013. Of all unconventional injuries, 55% were due to falls, which is nearly double the number from the year 2000.

Falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person's life. Every year, one in three adults 65 or older falls at least once, and more than 90 percent of hip fractures result from falls. Falling can often lead to fractures of the spine, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand. If you fall, it could limit your activities or make it impossible to live independently.

Maintaining the standing position requires multiple different body systems to be constantly working together.  These systems include the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), the vestibular system (brain and inner ear), the visual system (brain and eye) and a vast web of position-sensing nerves. Muscles and bones are pressed into service as well. Balance is like muscle strength: The more you use it, the less likely you are to lose it. Balance exercises, along with certain strength exercises, can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body's position, whether you are moving or still.

Combined with weight loss and strengthening exercise programs, participating in Balance Specific Exercise is a step in the right direction to protecting yourself, and decrease your fall risk. However,  it is important to receive proper instruction on such exercises, as many are dangerous to perform unsupervised. Before engaging in a Balance Specific Exercise program, be sure to consult with a Revolution Physical Therapist or Exercise Physiologist to assure correct form for not only maximizing effectiveness, but also assuring safety.

Kramarow E, Chen LH, Hedegaard H, Warner M. Deaths from unintentional injury among adults aged 65 and over: United States, 2000–2013. NCHS data brief, no 199. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.

Why are balance exercises important as we age?. (2013,  JANUARY 11). Retrieved from http://www.askdoctork.com/why-are-balance-exercises-important-as-we-age-201301114100