Nearly two million Americans are finding themselves in the emergency room each year due to fall related injuries. With lowered bone density, weakened muscles, and a slower than average healing time, older Americans face greater hardship recovering from injuries sustained in falls. Due to the dangerous nature of falls, they have become the leading cause of accidental deaths for those over the age of 65.
How To Improve Your Balance
Although falls are common for those over 65, they don’t have to be a continuing trend. Studies have shown that balance and core strength training regardless of age can help to decrease the likelihood of a fall which can help prevent disability.
- Standing on one foot, although seemingly simple, will help to develop those muscles that stabilize the body. If standing on one foot causes you to lose balance, begin by adding a sturdy chair into the exercise for you to hold on to. Raise one foot off the ground for 10 seconds and then alternate to the other foot. As you continue with this exercise regularly, you will begin to notice your need for the chair becomes less and less.
- Eye-tracking can be done while standing upright with your thumb out in front of you as a focal point. As the arm is bent, move the thumb to the left and then to the right, up and down, but only follow the thumb with your eyes. Upon completion of that exercise, extend the arm and track the thumb movements with your whole head. If you start to feel dizzy, stop the exercise at any time.
- Standing in a staggered stance, take one step forward and then hold for 10 seconds. Return your foot to your staggered stance and then try again with the other foot. To increase the intensity of this exercise, try completing with your eyes closed.
- A body circle is done by standing shoulder-width apart with the body straight and swaying in a circle for one minute. This motion is much like hula hooping and can become more challenging when feet are brought closer together.
- A heel-toe walk is done by placing the heel of one foot in front of the toe of the other foot and stepping forward slowly, trying to keep the heel to toe with each step. if unsteady on your feet, use a wall to start with and then slowly wean yourself off the wall when the balance has improved.
Call Us For More Information
If you feel you are at risk of a fall or have fallen and sustained an injury, our providers at BSC will work with you to get you back on your feet and provide you with further education and prevention techniques to avoid a future fall. Contact us today at 541-318-8627 to schedule an appointment.