Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in seniors. As we age, we naturally lose flexibility and strength. This makes seniors more susceptible to falls and getting injured when they fall.
While falls can’t always be prevented, some exercises can help seniors stay nimble and reduce their risk.
Here are five exercises for seniors to prevent falls.
1. Weight Shifting
Weight shifting is not a typical exercise you will see in classes or in workout videos. However, it is one of the most effective exercises to minimize the risk of falls for seniors. Weight shifting exercises can take many forms depending on the balance capability of the senior.
For beginners or seniors with limited mobility, start in a standing position and keep both feet on the floor. Simply shift weight from side to side, and stand next to a counter or something sturdy to hang on to if needed.
The exercise can be progressed to include forward and backward shifting and can be a good introduction to single-leg balancing. It also teaches the muscles how to respond to instability and can go a long way when a senior is knocked off balance unexpectedly.
2. Single Leg Balancing
Single leg balancing is a natural progression of weight shifting and is a more challenging way to test balance and build muscles for stability. If you’ve mastered weight shifting, try to slowly balance with one foot off the floor.
Try to extend the time you can balance by just a second or two each day. A good routine to aim for is to stand on each leg for 30 continuous seconds. Single leg balancing is a good goal to reach for and can help build muscle and prevent falls.
Stretching is often thought of as a follow-on activity to another exercise. However, stretching by itself is a great activity to improve flexibility and maintain nimbleness. Seniors who do not stretch regularly can become stiffer, which makes it more difficult to get around and very difficult to react quickly to a trip or slip.
Stretching is also a good way to stay active, and it can be done by seniors with varying mobility levels. Even seniors with very limited mobility can stretch while staying seated.
Walking is one of the best exercises for people of all ages, especially seniors. Walking has many benefits, including improving heart health, mood, and balance.
Seniors who walk regularly are less likely to experience a fall, and if they do fall, they are less likely to sustain a serious injury. It’s best to aim to walk at least 20 minutes a day, but even walking a few minutes a day can benefit overall health and wellness.
Sit-to-stand is a simple exercise that is performed just as it sounds. Start in a seated position and stand up. For beginners or seniors with limited mobility, start by using a chair with arms for support if needed.
Over time, the exercise is more effective if you stand without pushing or holding on to anything. Just doing ten sit-to-stands a day can be an effective way to exercise muscles for balance, decreasing the risk of falls.
Stay Safe in St. Petersburg Assisted Living
Seniors who live alone are at a greater risk of experiencing falls and being injured after a fall. This is just one of the many reasons St. Petersburg assisted living is a good option for many seniors.
Assisted living and independent living in St. Petersburg provide a safety net for seniors because they are set up in a safe environment and are never far from help. Take action to keep your loved one safe by exploring assisted living today.