In this blog, I share three simple exercises that you can do everyday at home to reduce your risk of falling. You can also coach your elderly loved ones to do these three exercises:
1) Sit to Stand: Practice standing up from a chair as you normally would. The hip muscles that allow people to stand up weaken with normal aging, so this brief exercise can help reduce your risk of falling.
In my work with older adults, I have observed that difficulty getting up out of chair independently is often the factor that determines if an older adult can stay home alone or if a caregiver is needed to assist.
Weakness in the hip extensors – or the buttock muscles – is the only change in muscle strength that affects everyone as we age. So doing repetitions of the sit-to-stand movement can serve as an exercise to stay independent and reduce your risk of falling.
2) Toe Taps: While sitting, tap your toes out in front of you on the floor. This helps to strengthen the shin muscles.
Weakness in the front of the lower leg – or shin area – is associated with increased fall risk. Strengthening the shin muscles can reduce the risk of falling by making it less likely that your toe will get caught on the floor as you step forward.
For a more intensive exercise program for the feet and ankles to reduce your risk of falling, click here.
3) Head movement: Turn your head side to side, and up and down.
Many people do not move their head very much throughout the course of the day. The vestibular system requires daily head movement to stay in tip-top shape and reduce your risk of falling.
This can eventually cause balance difficulties due to the vestibular system’s need for movement to stay sharp.
Simply incorporating increased head movement throughout the day can be beneficial to maintain balance and reduce your risk of falling.
If moving your head side-to-side or up and down makes you feel dizzy, then it is recommended for you to have an evaluation with the a Vestibular Expert to assess you for the root cause of your symptoms.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.