Movement and falls prevention
Posted on February 10, 2017 by Movement Health in Exercise Physiology
With age the likelihood of a fall occurring increases, it also becomes more likely that a fall will result in a serious injury. As Australia’s population is ageing, there is likely to be an increase in the occurrence of falls and fall related injuries. Falls are the most common cause of injury in older people and can affect their independence, activity levels, social interactions and quality of life. Treatment of fall related injuries is also of great expense to Australian health services.
Some common risk factors for a falls occurrence include; older age, falls history, poor balance, muscle weakness, impaired vision and taking multiple medications. These risks can be managed via a multifactorial approach that may include exercise interventions, improving vision, reviewing medication and modifying living environment.
Exercise is a particularly good intervention for preventing falls as it can address multiple risk factors and has been shown to improve muscular strength, balance, balance confidence and walking speed. An exercise program focusing on preventing falls should see the participant undertaking regularly physical activity, incorporating balance challenges totaling at least two hours a week. Good balance exercises may involve controlled body movements while standing with the feet close together (or standing on one leg), with as little arm support as possible. The exercises should be safe, but challenging and should aid in developing postural and lower limb strength. Whilst we really like our Pilates at Movement Health another mindful movement discipline Tai chi has been proven to be an effective form of exercise to aid in the prevention of falls in healthy older people.
If you think you are at falls risk and requiring guidance speak with your GP.
*Disclaimer, this is a discussion and does not represent an exercise prescription, for exercise or injury advice seek an appropriately trained health professional.