The Best Fall Prevention Program

  • 3 February, 2020

The best fall prevention program consists of exercises designed to improve strength, balance, agility and coordination.

Please remember to consult your physician before beginning any workout program, and if you are Medicare-eligible, do not forget to contact Bodyplex Blue Ridge to see if you qualify for a free fitness center membership under your current health plan.

With winter weather everyone should be carelful of risks outside and in your home. Falls can be disastrous for older adults, possibly leading to long-term immobility and loss of independence. To help prevent falls, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that seniors participate in an exercise program designed to improve strength, balance, agility and coordination.

For assistance in developing a customized fall prevention program, you should speak with a certified personal trainer or your physical therapist. Medicare-eligible seniors qualify for free fitness memberships through Silver Sneakers under many health plans, and many health clubs such as Bodyplex Blue Ridge, include free group fitness classes and complimentary exercise program for seniors.

To help you or your loved ones ward off falls this holiday season and beyond, here are some exercise recommendations from Stephanie Betts, American College of Sports Medicine member, Wellness Coach, certified personal trainer and owner of Bodyplex Blue Ridge. Stephanie suggests these exercises should be performed in addition to a regular stretching and cardiovascular exercise routine.

Strength Exercises

1. Chair squats (2 sets of 10–20 reps)
Sit on the edge of a firm chair or bench.
With arms in front of your body slightly lean forward.
Push through your heels and rise to a standing position.
Sit back down slowly.

2. Wall press (2 sets of 10–20 reps)
Leaning slightly forward place your hands in front of you on a wall or high counter top.
Keep your abdomen tight and body straight while bending your elbows and moving your chest towards the wall.
Push through the wall until your arms are straight and you are back in the beginning standing position.

3. Heel raises (2 sets of 10–20 reps)
From a standing position, push through the toes of both feet and raise the heels off the floor while keeping your body upright.
Pause at the top then slowly lower your heels to the floor.

4. Bridge on stability ball (2 sets of 10–20 reps)
Lie on your back on a mat with your legs straight out.
Keeping your legs together, place your heels on top of a stability ball.
Place your arms straight out to the side of your body on the floor to assist with balance.
Tighten your buttocks and abdomen, and then push through your heels to raise your buttocks off the mat, making a straight line from your heels to shoulders.
Hold for a couple seconds then slowly lower back to the starting position.

Agility and Coordination Exercises

1. Front leg swings (2 sets of 10–20 reps per side)
Begin by standing tall next to a wall, using your hand closer to the wall to assist with balance.
Swing your leg farthest from the wall forward, with leg straight, then back behind the body while maintaining an upright posture and straight leg.

2. Side leg swings (2 sets of 10–20 reps per side)
Stand tall with your side facing a wall, using your hand against the wall for balance if needed.
Swing your leg farthest from the wall out to the side while maintaining upright posture and a straight leg.

3. Heel-toe walking (2 times, 1–2 minutes each)
Take a step forward, positioning your heel of one foot in front of the toes of your opposite foot. Try to have the toes touch the heel of the shoe each time a step is taken.
Move forward or backward using this heel-toe pattern.

BALANCE Exercises

1. Stork poses (2 reps per side)
Stand next to a wall or countertop, using a hand to maintain balance.
Lift one foot off the ground to the front of your body
Close your eyes while on one leg and hold for 10-30 seconds.

2. Pendulum (2 sets of 5–10 reps per side)
Stand next to a wall, facing the seat of a chair placed 1–2 feet in front of you.
Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent,
Bend at the waist and reach forward to tap the chair seat while push your leg that is off the ground behind you as you lean forward.
Return to the starting position and repeat without placing the lifted foot back down on the floor.

Shane Betts is a wellness coach and certified personal trainer. He and his wife, Stephanie, are owners of Bodyplex Blue Ridge (706-946-2639), a preferred provider for Silver Sneakers.

Bodyplex Blue Ridge works with Stacey Davis, D.C. of Family Life Chiropractic Center of Blue Ridge to bring health back to our Senior Community.

provided by Silver Sneakers and most other
senior health insurance plans

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