“Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older, and the age-adjusted fall death rate is increasing. The age-adjusted fall death rate is 64 deaths per 100,000 older adults.”
This is a statement from a recent research article published in June of 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
I often read current topics in physical therapy and this topic has resonated with me for some period of time. A patient comes to me with a localized issue such as shoulder pain, low back pain, hip pain, etc. and I evaluate them to find that their balance places them at a high risk for falls. This is especially concerning when they may have bone integrity issues such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, or other condition that causes bone integrity abnormalities, and they initially come to me to ‘fix their shoulder pain’. Falls are an absolute real concern especially for our older population. To validate these concerns with top level research based articles please read these documents from the Centers of Disease Control and the aforementioned article from the Journal of the American Medical Association:
Upon initial examination I explain the importance of fall prevention. As aforementioned a serious fall can result in a fracture which can cause an immediate period of immobilization which severely limits mobility thus may exacerbate other medical conditions and even lead to death. I educate my patients on the importance of having sufficient balance to participate in their normal day to day physical activities.
Balance is made up of three systems. Vision, vestibular (inner-ear balance system) and somatosensory (sensation of our legs and feet). As we age, our bodies begin to rely heavily on our vision to assist us with our overall balance. Medical conditions such as neuropathy, diabetes, rheumatological conditions, and even arthritis tend to negatively affect our balance. It is common that I prescribe balancing exercises for seniors and individuals that initially seek treatment from me for ‘orthopedic’ conditions.
I have developed tried and true balance training exercises that can assist all, right from the comfort of your own home without the risk of falls and will improve your overall household and community mobility immediately.
All of our exercises for balance for seniors programs will include transitioning you to an effective standing and sitting balance exercise regimen all the while improving your chosen targeted body region. Click on this link below to learn more about how we will set you up for guaranteed success and immediately improve your walking, community mobility, and ability to participate with your desired work and recreational activities.
Standing at your counter, hands firmly placed on the counter for support, follow these 10 exercises for balance for seniors to improve your standing and sitting static and dynamic balance now:
Marching: Whilte standing at your counter stand tall, looking straight ahead, one hand firmly placed on the counter, bring one knee at a time up until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Slowly lower your leg, alternate and repeat.
Heel raise: You may complete this in a static position at the counter, or make it more challenging by walking next to the counter while completing this. Standing tall, eyes looking straight ahead, slowly raise your heels, don’t worry about trying to lift too high, just a comfortable height. Slowly lower and repeat. Here, check this video out for another sneak peek into our program’s instructions on how to complete at home. https://youtu.be/w35bsI1NtSY
butt kicks: standing tall, bend one knee up like you are trying to lift your heel toward your butt. Slowly lower, alternate and repeat.
toe raise: standing tall with hands on the counter, lift up your toes placing weight through your heels, slowly lower and repeat.
side steps: standing tall at your counter, hands on the counter, take a step to the side, bringing your feet back together. Just step to the side down your counter, and once you’ve reached one side, take side steps back the other direction.
step overs: Similar to the side step, now take a step to the side as if stepping over a 3 or 6 inch fence. Make sure both legs are stepping over that ‘fence’. Side step in both directions while standing alongside your counter.
single leg balance workout for seniors: standing at your counter with hands on counter for support and reduce fall risk significantly. Lift one leg up and try to balance on one leg while your hands are on the counter for necessary support. Stand tall, look straight ahead with your eyes open.
Alternating arm raises: Stand tall, lift one arm up high to the sky, slowly lower and alternate arms, always maintaining one arm with contact on the counter for support.
Sitting exercises for balance: While seated on your bed, reach both hands high to the sky, and hold that position. Now, lift one leg up to allow only an inch of space from your foot to the floor. Alternate this marching with your legs while keeping your hands high and sitting tall, do this 10 times per leg.
Sitting balance: While seated on your bed, lift your arms high to the sky. While keeping your arms up, straighten one knee out in front of you, slowly lower, alternate and repeat. Do this 10 times while sitting tall.
These simple exercises will immediately challenge your 3 balance systems to assist you with improving your sitting and standing balance thus resulting in mitigating your risk of falls.
Dr. Marty Sanchez is a licensed Physical Therapist and owner of Desire Wellness where he, and his wife, Dr. Emily Sanchez have teamed up with other primary care providers to bring multiple resources for healing, improved vitality and mobility. Dr. Marty received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Azusa Pacific University in 2005. Follow Dr. Marty Sanchez on Facebook and LinkedIn