A fall might seem like such a simple thing but the numbers say otherwise. In Australia, around 40 percent of injuries that necessitate staying in the hospital are because of falls.
To put that in perspective, only 13 percent of injuries requiring hospitalization occur because of car accidents. So really, there’s a higher chance that you’d be hospitalized because you fell as opposed to being in a car accident.
It’s a good thing there are ways to minimise the chances of a fall through routine exercises. Here are simple techniques you can use:
Standing on a Single Leg
This is actually a yoga pose and helps with stability. It looks simple but once you try doing it, it’s a lot tougher. Start by standing with both feet flat on the floor. Next, slowly lift your right leg and place it flat on your upper left thigh.
You should be making a 45-degree angle with your knees. To keep your balance, place your hands in a praying position on the center of your chest and lock your core muscles. You’ll wobble a little but this is fine. Maintain this position for 30 seconds and switch.
Slow Toe Touches
Another good exercise is slow touches which helps improve your flexibility and stretches your body beautifully before and after an exercise. It’s a good warmup and cooldown move – so you can easily integrate it in your workouts.
To do this, just slowly curl your body downwards from the waist, extending your hands forward until they can touch your toes. You might not be able to do this the first few tries since you’re not that flexible yet so don’t force yourself. Instead, just keep executing the exercise, getting a bit closer each time.
If flexibility is not your problem or there’s a very real danger of injury from stretching, you might want to try doing toe stands instead. It’s a fairly simply exercise where you find solid support to hold on to during an exercise. For example, grab onto the back of a chair and slowly bend your knees to a 90-degree angle.
Keep your back straight and push up so that you’ll be standing on your toes. Hold for a second and then lower your feet flat on the floor. Repeat 15 times. This will help improve your leg and calf muscles, therefore giving added support when moving.
Sit to Stand Exercises
Start this exercise by finding a chair with arms. Place it in an area of the house with sufficient traction so there’s no chance of slippage. Starting from a sitting position and place your arms on the arm chair. Using your arms, slowly push your body off the chair to a standing position.
Once done, sit back down again and repeat. Note that when standing up, your arm muscles should be doing most of the work with your legs doing as little as possible. You should feel your and buttocks clenching as you make that move. This exercise helps maintain core balance.
Seniors and those who are prohibited from standing up for long periods of time will find this exercise useful. Essentially, you just have to sit straight on a chair with your feet splayed flat on the floor.
Slowly lift one leg upwards, stretching it straightforward until you can feel that satisfying pull of your calves. Lower the leg and repeat the movement with the other one. Do this for 15 repetitions each leg. This improves the thigh muscles and strengthens the core.
Planking is an excellent exercise that benefits all body parts. It hits primarily the core muscles which is heavily engaged in maintaining your balance. You can do the traditional planking or a variation of it, depending on which one feels most comfortable. Standing planks also work well in helping your core muscles.
Go slow and pay attention to form. We don’t want to you get an injury during the exercise. Keep in mind that a fall can happen to anyone – regardless of age.
With seniors however, you’ll have to be a bit more careful as falls can lead to serious injuries – like hip dislocation. In any case, keeping fit, improving your balance, and boosting your strength all contribute towards a less-risky life.