Falls can result in serious injuries, and this is something people of all ages should prevent. As we age, we become more susceptible to falling. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention published that one of the leading causes of injury among seniors is falling, and the NHS reports that in the UK falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over the age of 75. The best way to ensure as a senior you are not susceptible to falling is to try exercises that can improve strength and flexibility. Here are some of the best that will help you to prevent falls.
Alternate lunges are easy to perform and don’t require much effort. For the setup, stand with the feet hip-width apart and get a sturdy chair that you can place on one side for balance (as you continue to gain balance, you can try the exercise without support from the chair). While your back remains straight, step forward on one foot and bend your knee. In a full lunge your back knee almost touches the ground, so try to work towards this goal. Ensure that your front knee does not extend beyond your front toes. At this point, you can push through the front foot to assume a standing posture. Switch to the opposite leg and perform the procedure. It’s recommended to start with five “reps” (repetitions, or repeats) for each leg, which you can later increase to 10 per leg.
Again, with your feet hip-width apart, stand tall. You can hold to a wall or a stationary piece if necessary to improve balance. With good progress, you will be able to do the exercise with no need to hold on to anything for support. From this position, lift your foot about an inch from the floor but ensure to keep your torso straight while ensuring you don’t lean towards the planted foot. Hold for about 15 seconds then return the foot to the flow. Switch your feet and do five repetitions for each leg.
This is another easy exercise that seniors will find ideal to strengthen their back and improve balance. While standing on one side of a bench or a sturdy chair, hold some weight (2 pounds) on your opposite side and while keeping your back straight, hinge forward from your waist so your free hand touches the bench or chair. Afterwards, bend the opposite arm while keeping the elbow planted on your waist. Pull the weight to your waist and do 10 repetitions on each arm. You can gradually increase the weight as the body gets used to the exercise.
Slow Toe Touches
While standing, keep your feet straight together and slowly roll your upper body so your fingers reach towards your toes. Only go as far as your flexibility can allow because this improves with time. It’s important to ensure you keep your legs straight while performing this exercise. After touching the toes, or going as near to the toes as you can, roll back up slowly. Repeat this several times to improve flexibility. Note that if you are unable to do it perfectly at first you should not give up as you improve with time and it might take a few weeks or more before you begin doing it with perfection.
Chair Knee Raises
To perform leg raises, sit in a sturdy chair and while holding to the bottom of the chair with your hands, stretch one leg to bring your knee near your chest. Ensure not to move your upper body to meet the knee. After reaching the chest with the knee, move your leg back then lower your foot to touch the ground. Switch to the opposite leg and try five reps per side. Increase this count to 10 as your body gets used to the exercise. Finally, you can try to extend both legs simultaneously.
Start while seated in a chair that has arms. Use the arms to brace yourself then push your butt up the air with some help from your lower body. After lifting your body from the chair, lower yourself slowly back to the seat. You can do this in 10 repetitions for best results. You can check out Elevating Seniors for more ideas on this and other forms of workout that you can perform that are suited for seniors to prevent falls and accidents.
Fitness is something that will help to keep your body flexible and strong. This is important especially if you are a senior and would like to protect yourself against falls. Embrace exercises that help to improve your flexibility and strength including slow toe touches, sit-to-stands, and alternating lunges, which are exercises you can perform in your house without the need for special equipment or assistance. With these exercises, you will get stronger and more supple, and prevent falls that happen due to inflexibility and weakness.
Other exercises will help too. Several studies have shown that Tai Chi practice helps prevent falls, and exercises such as swimming and regular walking are also an excellent way to maintain overall body strength and fitness.