Exercises to Help Prevent Falls in Older Adults

January 26, 2018 in STSMPT

Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries each year. Quite a few of these will require some sort of rehabilitation to heal properly. One reason falls become more prevalent in older adults is that our bodies tend to lose muscle as we age. We especially loose muscle in our legs, torso, and core areas, which are primarily responsible for movement and balance. Certain exercises can help build strength in these areas. With any exercise, we recommend consulting a physical therapist or doctor before engaging in physical activity to assess risk of potential injury.

  • Knee curls: These help make the buttocks and lower back muscles stronger. Start by holding onto a solid support for balance. A countertop or back of a chair works. Stand with your back straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Lift one leg and bend your knee to bring your heel towards your buttock. Slowly lower your leg back into a standing position. Start out with 5 repetitions per leg and build your way up to 10.
  • Alternating lunges: Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Place a sturdy chair on one side for support. Keep your back straight as you step forward with one foot. Bend your front knee until your back knee is almost on the ground. Make sure your front knee does not extend past your front toes. Push through your foot to return to a standing position. Repeat on the opposite foot. Start out with 5 repetitions per leg and build your way up to 10. As you gain strength you can try this exercise without holding onto a chair.
  • Chair leg raises: Sit in a sturdy chair. Hold onto the bottom of the chair with both hands and extend one leg straight out. Bring your knee towards your chest without moving your upper body to meet it. Extend the leg back out and lower your foot to the ground. Repeat with the other leg. Start out with 5 repetitions per leg and build your way up to 10.

Exercises such as these can help strengthen muscles and prevent falling. If you, or someone you know, has struggled with falls, we’re here to help. We can help coordinate a training program to help strengthen your problem areas.

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