Most seniors are concerned about falls, and for good reason! They account for a majority of the injuries procured by adults over the age of 65. In fact, falls account for more than 40-percent of all nursing home admissions and are the leading cause of injury related emergency department visits for older adults. The most common injuries are hip fractures and head injuries. Not only are falls a scary experience for seniors, but they can lead to the loss of independent living.
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For the aging adult who takes a fall, they become more nervous about experiencing it again. Their gait and speed of walking will likely change, and even the smallest, imperceptible changes can lead to another fall. So how do we protect against falls, particularly for seniors? The best place to start is by strengthening the body with a few standing balance exercises. Start with a good balance training program.
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Reduce Risk of Falls in Seniors
A recent study done in France showed that exercise can reduce not only the odds of falling but the odds of sustaining fall-related injuries. French researchers analyzed the results of 17 different trials that tested the effect of fall-prevention exercises on seniors’ risk of falls and fall-related injuries. The studies were on 60 years and over aged adults, who lived in senior living communities. Overall, exercise programs reduced falls that caused injuries by 37-percent, falls leading to serious injuries by 43-percent, and broken bones by 61-percent.
Some of the exercise programs were specifically aimed at improving balance. Others were general exercise programs. Although balance training is the main way to help with fall prevention, any exercise that improves endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility can help prevent falls and related injuries.