Common causes for falls and fear of falling are multifactorial and can include a previous history of falls with or without injury, recent changes in medications, decreased endurance or strength, and having a feeling of falling. Changes in eyesight, and/or outdated lens prescription can also affect your balance. Other common causes for falls are diabetes or neuropathy, increased age, cognitive changes, and social isolation.
ways to reduce your fall risk:
Maintaining your overall body strength is the number one way to reduce your fall risk. Strength training is a progressive endeavor that can start in a seated position and progress to dynamic full-body movements. A physical therapist or personal trainer can create a personalized plan that will help increase strength, coordination, and balance. Make sure to keep your prescription glasses updated with regular visits to your eye care professional. Socialization with peers is also a way to reduce your risk of falling. Another factor that can reduce the risk of falls is education. Education of falls includes; where falls are likely to occur, risk factors, and steps you can take at home and in the community to keep yourself safe.
exercises that may help:
Marching in Place – Use the back of a chair or a kitchen counter for balance support if needed. As you march in place, raise your knees as high as comfortably possible. You want to march in place for 30-60 seconds elevating your heart rate.
Arms Wide Open – In a seated position, place your arms in front of you then open your arms wide. Hold this position briefly before returning your arms to the starting position. Make sure that you are sitting up tall and engaging your core for support. If you do not have a set of weights, you can use a can of soup or a water bottle for additional resistance. Complete 10-20 repetitions.
Overhead Reaches – In a seated position, place your arms at shoulder height. One arm at a time, reach overhead. Hold this position briefly before returning your arm to the starting position. Make sure that you are sitting up tall and engaging your core for support. If you do not have a set of weights, you can use a can of soup or water bottle for additional resistance. Complete 10-20 repetitions.
Side Lunges with Arm Reaches – Start with both feet pointing forward. With your left leg, lunge to the side and reach out with your hands, making sure your core muscles are activated. Return to the starting position. Complete 5-15 lunges with your left leg and then switch to lunge with your right leg.
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