Fall Prevention Exercises
(Disclaimer: before beginning any exercise program, you should consult with your physician) 1. Practice standing on one leg! You can do this at a counter so that you can use the counter top for support when you experience a loss of balance. There are studies that indicate a person who can not stand on one foot for at least 5 seconds is at risk for injurious falls. Make your goal 30 seconds. PRO TIP: stand on one leg and use your finger tips to alternate tapping one hand and then the other for intermittent assistance while still making your standing leg do the majority of the work. Or make it a habit and stand on one leg while you brush your teeth. Hold on to the counter for support as needed. 2. Practice transferring sit to stand! Use a standard height chair (without wheels) or a firm couch and sit near the front edge of the seat. Ten repetitions is a good place to start. Every time you stand up, you have to catch your balance. Stand up straight and tall! Furthermore, you are using your large muscles around your hips, and your small muscles that surround your ankles, and those muscle groups are critical in maintaining balance. As an added challenge, try doing it without your arms crossed at your chest! ! If you are curious what the norms are (i.e. the number of average reps) for your age and gender, you can send me an email and I’d be happy to tell you! FYI, the research states that even a female in her 90s should be able to stand up from a standard height chair without using her hands at least once. 3. Practice heel raises! (…for the small muscles around your ankle we talked about in #1) If you put your hands flat on a wall, you can’t unweight yourself and you are using all of your body weight as resistance. Use your calf muscles and lift yourself up onto your tip-toes. If you are unable to lift your heels off the ground, use a counter top so that your arms can take part of your weight off your legs. Try 15-20 heel raises. (Some people call these toe raises, but it is your heel that should be going up in the air.) PRO TIP: Keep your knees straight by tightening your thigh muscles so you aren’t compensating! When your heels go up, your knees should not bend.
If you are sore after your exercises, that means you should repeat them the next day! You are less likely to be sore the third day if you repeat the exercises ———————————————————————————————————— Enabling seniors to age in place with dignity and grace.