Falls risk, Power and Balance

In the previous blog about Exercise and Bone Strength – https://www.longevitypt.com.au/blog/exercise-for-bone-strength/ resistance training is highlighted as a major contributor to maintaining bone health and in turn decreasing the risk of falls. This week we are delving deeper into addressing the risk of falls as a significant consideration for training for the ageing population.

Limiting the risk of fracture (particularly at the hip) is extremely important for maintaining your long-term health. Although maximizing bone health is very important to mitigate risk of fracture and the focus of many headlines, the ability to balance and generate power are equal contributors to the equation for fracture risk. The ability to generate power and maintain balance have one important common variable: they can both be improved through proper exercise programming.  

Resistance training at moderate loads with high speed has been shown to be very effective in improving power production. The practical consequence of this is that increasing power makes the demand of avoiding near-miss falls situations much easier to handle, whether it is slipping on a wet surface in the kitchen, tripping over a child’s toy or losing your balance stepping on an uneven surface. In turn the risk of adverse events will decrease with power training.

Balance involves proper integration of information from your eyes, inner ears, muscles and skin. This is why it is virtually impossible to maintain balance on one foot while closing your eyes (removing vision), shaking your head slowly in a yes/no movement (removing inner ear feedback), and while on foam (reducing muscle and skin feedback). Go ahead and give these a try next time you are in the gym!

In order to maintain balance, all of this information must help to maintain your centre of mass over the area between your foot/feet when they are in contact with the ground. When you are moving, tilting your head while looking around or performing any other daily task, your balance will be compromised significantly, and you may not become aware of this until a fall occurs.

Exercise progressions can specifically challenge each system individually, and you can become very skilled in balancing under challenging conditions: uneven surfaces, dark rooms in the middle of the night and small trip hazards will soon become worries of the past.
At Longevity we focus on, well, Longevity!
This includes every aspect of your health from cardiovascular disease, weight management and even some you don’t usually think about: bone health, balance and power to keep you up, injury free and moving well for many years to come.

Aim for 20 seconds at each stage without losing your balance before moving to the next stage.

If you’re wanting to know more or would love to improve your falls risk, balance and power, then get in contact with the team at Longevity on 1300 964 002.

Written by Mitchell Hooper.

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