Building a physical activity routine, especially if you’re starting from scratch, can be a bit intimidating. If you need a bit of motivation to kickstart your new healthy habit of exercise, think about this: exercise has been shown to reduce the incidence of falls by 13 to 40 percent.
Despite all the other great benefits associated with moderate and regular exercise, including a recent study showing the positive cognitive effects of walking, it has also been associated with a reduction in fall risk. If you or a loved one is considering amping up your exercise routine or dipping your toes in the metaphorical exercise pool, we suggest you incorporate one, or all, of the following tips into your weekly routine. Fall prevention exercises can help you or a loved one maintain independence and increase longevity.
Curb Hypertension with Regular Exercise
While there is varying research on the correlation between blood pressure medication(s) and associated fall risks, it’s safe to say that exercise is one of many healthy lifestyle habits that can help reduce hypertension in anyone at any age. Hypertension can result in certain negative health outcomes like shortness of breath, lightheadedness when standing, dizziness and falls. It can also lead to more serious long-term health issues like stroke and heart disease.
Getting your blood pressure under control with regular exercise may be one way to reduce your or a loved one’s risk of falling. Falls are not only detrimental to our physical well-being but our mental health as well. While hypertension medication may always be a necessary component to maintaining your health, exercise is a vital aspect of our overall health and wellness both mentally and physically.
Create a Feasible and Safe Exercise Program
There is nothing wrong with starting out slow if you’re new to, or have been on a hiatus from, a regular exercise routine. It’s imperative that you create a program and set goals that allow you to exercise safely and without added risk. It’s suggested that older adults partake in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Ideally your weekly exercise schedule will include balance training exercises in addition to aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
Tips for Safe Exercise Routines
-Begin with low-intensity exercises (swimming, walking, yoga, Tai Chi)
-Allow time to warm up and cool down
-Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise)
-Invest in appropriate foot attire
-Investigate your surroundings for any potential tripping hazards
-Always speak with your healthcare provider before adding a new exercise routine into your schedule
Incorporate All Four Types of Exercise in Your Weekly Routine
While incorporating all four types of exercise into your routine may not be feasible for you, it’s important to diversify your routine when and where you can. If you or a loved one is living with a chronic condition that prevents you from certain types of exercise and activities, it’s suggested that you be as physically active as your condition allows.
Below we’ve highlighted all four types of exercise that you can incorporate into your routine and given you some options as well:
Endurance + Aerobic Activities
Your heart, lungs and circulatory system will love you!
-Brisk walking or jogging
Increase your balance and reduce your risk of falls.
-Resistance band training
Another type of exercise that mitigates fall risks.
-Standing from a seated position
-Balancing on one foot
These exercises are designed to improve your flexibility and can be incorporated into your warm-up or cool down routines.
The inner thigh (groin) stretch
The ankle stretch (with chair)
Exercise and Prestige
Exercise is a vital component to our philosophy of care for our residents. Upon moving to Prestige, a new resident receives a full health assessment, and then is guided to an appropriate exercise class, which could be seated exercise, standing exercise, or a combination of both.
Those programs, called Energize Exercise, are led by licensed trainers who understand the specialized needs of seniors.
We also run Fall Reduction Classes for our residents, which in concert with Energize Exercise, helps reduce falls while promoting physical and mental health.
No matter where you are in your wellness journey, exercise is one of the most critical components of maintaining independence and longevity.