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Strength + Balance = Fewer Falls
By Gateway Health

Sometimes when you fall, you can simply get up, brush yourself off and return to normal activity. But other times you might not be so lucky, and may fracture a bone or hit your head. If so, your fall could lead to further problems, like needing to go to the hospital or move to a care facility.

The good news is you can help avoid falls by doing targeted strength exercises and balance training. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll also be strengthening your bones, which can help prevent osteoarthritis.

Before You Begin
Before you begin, remember that you also want to prevent a fall from happening while you exercise, so make sure your space is free from tripping hazards and that you have something secure to hold onto, such as a sturdy chair or a partner.

Also, keep in mind that even though it may seem more logical to exercise your lower body only, you need to exercise both your upper and lower body. Remember, you pull, reach and lift using your arms, and if they are weak, they could contribute to a fall.

A Few Exercises to Try
Here are examples of exercises that can help. Start with a few repetitions, then gradually increase. If you have questions or concerns, check with your doctor. Also, ask your doctor about more exercises that are appropriate for you.

Balance Training

  • Stand on left foot, holding secure chair or partner and hold for 10 seconds; repeat on right foot.

Strength Training

  • Lower Body: Hold back of a sturdy chair; slowly raise up on tiptoes, hold for one second, come down.
  • Upper Body: Stand and hold hand weights at your sides, palms inward. Raise both arms to the side, shoulder height. Hold for one second, then slowly lower.

Unfortunately, after age 65, more than one in three seniors fall. Avoid falls by doing strength and balance exercises daily. Plus, make sure your training goes hand in hand with making your home safer, too. Find and remove tripping hazards like loose rugs, electric cords or items left on stairs.

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