Research has reported that individuals 65 and older experience a fall each year! Falls can jeopardize the health and independence of aging adults, as it is the leading cause of injuries among Utahns 65 and older; it is reported that 95% of hip fractures occur due to a fall.
Two of the main reasons falls increase with age is due to balance and strength losses. After individuals suffer from a fall they can become afraid of falling again, even if no injury occurred. A fear of falling can cause a person to live a more sedentary lifestyle; thus, diminishing their health, strength, and quality of life.
Fall prevention is possible! Physical Therapy can help by implementing a balance and strengthening program. Explained below are a few balance exercises you can try at home. Be sure to come see us at Empower Utah Physical Therapy to evaluate your balance and discuss an individualized strength and balance program! Be on the lookout for our free educational seminars on balance training.
Start with feet hip-width apart, hands placed on your hips and maintaining balance for 30 seconds. This exercise can be more challenging by closing your eyes, head turns side-to-side, and changing the support surface to something more compliant (such as standing on carpet, a towel, or pillow).
Single Leg Balance
Stand next to a sturdy table or chair to use for support when needed. Assume shift weight to one leg and lift the other foot at least one inch off the floor, an upright torso, and maintain balance for 10-20 seconds without holding onto the table or chair. This exercise can also be more challenging by the same methods listed above. Be sure to perform on each leg for about 3-5 repetitions.
Slow Toe Touches
Start by sitting on a stable chair, place your feet hip-width apart, hands-on tops of thighs. Move your hands down your legs and slowly roll your spine and upper body down until your hands touch your toes. This can be challenged by performing in a standing position and going as far as you can. Be very mindful of your ability and safety!
Feel free to reach out to us at Empower Physical Therapy for info on our balance and fall prevention seminars. If you want to avoid falls and improve your balance we can make a program specifically for you with a one-on-one balance program.
Doctoral Candidate at the University of St. Augustine
Dr. Dalin Hansen, PT, DPT
Passionate practitioner dedicated to empowering others to take control of their health.