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Three Great Tips to Prevent Falls

Better Balance for Seniors Three Tips

Did you know every year nearly 20 - 30% of seniors will experience 1 or 2 falls mostly in their own homes? Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations for adults over 65 years old.

Many will end up in hospital with a fractured wrist, hip, ankle or foot. Based on research it's one of the most common reason older adults end up in hospital and sadly losing their independence.

Falling can be life altering and sometimes leading to death.

The good news is that falls can be prevented. Begin with simple movements that will transform your body and improve your balance.

These exercises work on your internal systems to help you stay stable and lessen the impact of an accidental fall. You may experience a sprain or bruising but hopefully no broken bones.

Majority of falls happen while you are moving like walking and not when you are standing still. Exercises that focus on balancing on one foot don't necessarily help improve balance. In order to keep your balance it involves multiple sensory system to work together. Your balance reflexes respond automatically.

Falls happen very quickly, a blink of a second!

Tip #1 – Why are Eyes Important in Balance

Your eyes interact with your inner ear which is part of the vestibular system. Through your eyes you take in information about the surroundings which sends signals to be interpreted by the brain.

Closing your eyes or moving in darkness, your brain will need to guess where you are in space. It's more challenging.

Training your eyes to stay focused on where you're going can help prevent falls. People fall when they take their eyes away or look down and take their eyes away from what's in front of them when walking.

Make sure you have enough light at home. A great idea is to use a night-light at night so there's light when moving you move from bedroom to bathroom.

Eye Tracking Exercises

Better Balance Eye Tracking

To setup for this exercise:

  1. Sit halfway on a chair so that both feet are connected to the floor

  2. Connect thumb with fourth finger and baby finger - Prana Mudra - Spirit of life

Variation #1 – Changes in Depth

Better Balance Eye Tracking Depth

  1. Start with right hand in Prana Mudra

  2. Move your hand in front of your nose

  3. Slowly move your arm back and forth

  4. Focus on your fingers as it moves

  5. Keep your head still

  6. Do for 10 times or less

  7. Rest your eyes (see below)

Variation #2 – Head and Eyes Track

Better Balance Eye Tracking Side to Side

  1. Hand in Prana Mudra

  2. Extent arm out in front of you

  3. Move hand side to side

  4. Let your eyes and head follow your target

  5. Move hand up and down

  6. Move hand freely drawing shapes in the air

  7. Do 3 times for each direction

Rest your Eyes

  1. Rub your palms together a few times to feel the warmth

  2. Close your eyes

  3. Cup your palms over your eyes

  4. Breathe into your palms – 2 - 3 breaths

Note: If at any time you begin to feel dizzy, please stop the exercise and rest your eyes. Try again on another day.

Tip #2 – How is Proprioception and Balance Linked

Proprioception provides information to your brain on where you are in space.

It's a system that involves the nervous system.

Proprioceptor cells are located in muscles, tendons and joints. There are cells in your feet, ankle and knee joint.

As you age these cells become less active, so they need to be stimulated and available when you move.

Foot Rubbing

Better Balance Proprioceptor Foot Rub

  1. Sit halfway on a chair seat

  2. Start with your left foot

  3. Rub it forward and back several times

  4. Rub it side to side several time

  5. Do it 3 - 6 times in each direction

  6. Now stand up

  7. How does it feel? Do you feel more grounded on the left foot vs right foot?

  8. Repeat exercise switch to your right foot

Tip #3 - Train your Nervous System

When you walk on uneven surfaces it's easy to catch your toes sending your body forward and away from its centre of gravity.

In response, the nervous system reacts. Your body may respond by freezing or locking down joints in a brace for protection. However, if this happens it may actually do more harm should you fall.

Fear and anxiety override processes of your body and brain.

Proprioception can be trained so that it's active within your body.

Rhythmic swaying works on your joints to move freely and together in coordination. It connects feet, ankle, knee, hip and torso as the body moves away from its centre.

Body Swaying stimulates your vestibular senses and settles the nervous system. Train your nervous system to stay calm when your body moves away from its centre.

Rhythmic Body Swaying

Better Balance Body Swaying

  1. Stand tall

  2. Feet parallel

  3. Hip width apart or wider

  4. Eyes open

  5. Do you feel stable?

  6. Feel your feet - heel, big toe, little toes

  7. Slowly rock side to side

  8. Continue to rock side to side slowly

  9. Move continuously for 30 secs or more

  10. Do you feel stable?

  11. Repeat again with eyes closed

  12. Do you feel stable?

Falls Can be Prevented

Falls are the leading cause of older adults losing their independence. Good news is that falls can be prevented.

Learn these simple movements and practice them daily to transform your body. Your joints will move with more ease and in coordination with other muscles and joints.

If you like learning about how to keep your body youthful and functionally healthy, visit my website and become a regular student. Join one of the group classes. It will be one of the best investments in yourself and staying mobile as long as possible. It will pay you many dividends in the future.


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