As people begin to get older, falls, which are nothing more than an embarrassing experience, can have severe life-affecting consequences.
Fortunately, you can start preparing your body today to prevent serious falls that could greatly affect your life.
Certified Personal Trainer Shane McLean shares some of the best fall prevention exercises to keep you injury-free and on your feet, plus why they’re important.
What are the risks of falling?
Usually, falling hurts your pride more than anything else. However, for older people, one in five falls leads to serious injury. The most common of these injuries are head injuries and hip fractures. Most traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of a fall.
Falls are also a huge burden on the health care system, with the total medical costs of a fall in 2015 exceeding $50 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid bearing 75 percent of the costs.
Also, 95% of hip fractures result from falls. The most surprising fact is that the loss of mobility makes it two or three times more likely that an older adult who has experienced a fall will meet their maker.
This means that working to prevent falls saves you more than just embarrassment. It could save your life.
work on balance
Balance is necessary to prevent falls. But what gives us balance? Our bodies use three systems to keep us in balance while we are still (static) or in motion (dynamic). here they are:
- vestibular apparatus
- musculoskeletal system
- neuromuscular system
The vestibular apparatus is located within the inner ear and is responsible for providing the brain with information about; Movement, balance and spatial awareness.
Your musculoskeletal system includes; Skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons. This system sends sensory information to the brain, which helps it determine your body position and any changes to your environment.
The neuromuscular system takes information from the eye and the other two systems and transmits it to the brain. The brain will then use the central and peripheral nervous system to respond to this information.
Maclean Breakingmuscle.comHe made his best exercise choices to help improve balance and prevent simple and easy falls using minimal equipment.
People do squats every day without even realizing it. Every time you sit up from a chair or bend your knees to pick up something, you’re doing a kind of squat.
Therefore, performing squats as an exercise accentuating the appropriate biomechanics will develop leg muscles and can help improve back pain. This functional exercise will improve your ability to bend your knees and squat for your daily activities.
Squatting can also help build a firm and strong foundation that helps improve mobility and prevent falls. In particular, the squat exercise builds muscles in the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also helps build core muscles making rotation, bending and standing easier while also improving posture.
Half and long kneeling positions
Practicing these positions is an excellent way to improve core stability. By kneeling rather than standing, you allow yourself to practice postures without the threat of falling from a height. The goal is to build balance muscles that help prevent you from shaking and unbalanced when standing and moving.
The tall, half-kneeling position is great for activating your core and glute muscles – both essential for stability and good posture. Both of these positions are excellent starting exercises for further progression as well. You can hold the positions for one to two minutes each. Then, you can add resistance like pull-ups or shoulder pressure variations when they get too easy.
This is another functional exercise that mimics the day-to-day functions of daily movements. For example, when you walk home with shopping bags in each hand, you are basically carrying farmers’ bags.
In particular, this exercise improves:
- deep breathing
- shoulder stability
- strong grip
The vestibular system is negatively affected if you have difficulty raising your head properly in the correct position. Therefore, you need to strengthen your neck to allow your head to remain upright and for your balance systems to work in harmony.
Head nods improve posture, reduce neck pressure, and reduce pressure on cervical nerves.
Head nods are an easy exercise that anyone can add to their warm-up routine with just 10 or 15 repetitions.
Ankle movement exercises
The health of your ankles is very important in maintaining a healthy posture, balance, and movement. The ankle senses various environmental changes such as height or uneven surfaces and transmits this information back to the brain via the nervous system. Then your brain can adapt to the changes through the muscular response.
When you have impaired ankle movement, there is impaired signals to the brain and a poor response as a result. If your muscular response does not properly adapt to environmental changes, you may lose balance and possibly fall.
You can incorporate it into your warm-up routine by performing the ankle dorsiflexion while rolling the foam, for example. Or you can do high calf raises as a strength-building tool.
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