Fear of losing balance and falling can be terrifying for senior citizens. It is estimated that approximately one-third of the senior population age 65 and over are admitted to the hospital due to falls. As age increases, so do the statistics. Approximately 50% of seniors who have hip surgery from falling, will experience another slip within six months.
One of the primary reasons seniors fall is due to lack of strength and balance. Our bodies are meant to move and many seniors lack serious exercise routines, resulting in loss of balance and strength. Learning an exercise program designed specifically for strength and balance for seniors is essential in fall prevention.
For many unconditioned seniors, balancing and strengthening exercises can be challenging. Always begin an exercise program with a trained Senior Fitness specialist. A fitness professional will begin any exercise plan with a thorough assessment of balance and strength issues, including postural deviations, soft tissue injuries, and any skeletal disease.
Benefits of an exercise program are vast. A cardio-respiratory program designed for your specific fitness level will increase blood flow and oxygen uptake to vital organs allowing those organs to work more efficiently.
Stretching exercises will help you lengthen muscles that have been shortened due to inactivity allowing for more freedom of movement and ease of muscular pain.
Balance exercises will help you with many of your daily activities, including standing up from a chair or getting out of a tub without falling. Balance is also important for being able to move quickly out of harms’ way, as in a swift moving vehicle coming too fast as you are crossing the street.
Strength training is vital in keeping muscles and bones strong. Strength training has proven to help reduce osteoporosis and increase bone density. This can help reduce deformity in the joints and fractures especially in the hips and spine. Muscle imbalances and lack of tone can be reduced with strength training exercises. Strength training will also help to improve your step and gait which may reduce the need for walking with a walker or cane.
Cardio-respiratory exercises, strength training, balance exercises and stretching routines combined will add not only valuable physical improvement in day to day activities but also provide essential mental health. Increased oxygen flow to the brain and organs increase efficiency and helps reduce the loss of memory and improves mental sharpness.
Beginning an exercise routine may appear to be daunting at first, but hiring a professional fitness trainer who specializes in senior fitness is the first step. Always check with your physician and get a medical clearance before beginning an exercise program. Take small steps, build up your endurance and most of all, enjoy feeling the benefits of exercise.
Find an ACE-certified Senior Fitness personal trainer to help you begin and design an exercise program to help increase balance, strength, and cardio-respiratory endurance.
Kristina Hall is certified and can help you design an in-home exercise program customized to your fitness needs and level. It is never too late to begin exercising for health and well-being.
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