Issues raised from a fall are most common in people aged 65 years and older and are the leading cause of injury in this age group.
They can have serious consequences, including:
- impaired function
- loss of confidence
- loss of independence
- even death
150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week will reduce your risk of falls.
Improving Strength, Flexibility, Balance & Reaction Time are the key areas to reducing falls.
Reducing the time you spend sitting, watching TV, using a computer, will compliment your physical activity by reducing sedentary behaviour. Move little and often, at least twice per hour.
Start small. The biggest improvements come from making small changes that you can increase safely and incorporate into your daily routine. Like taking the stairs not the lift; Parking at the back of the car park not by the door; Getting off the bus a stop early; Walk short journeys.
Any activity for more than 10 minutes at a time will build toward your 150-minute goal.
Aerobic activities are best – try starting with a gentle walk, bike ride, or swim.
Strength building activity is also important. Try yoga or some resistance work to keep muscles strong. Maintenance of muscle strength and bone density, will not only decrease your risk of a fall but help you physically manage a fall if it does happen.
Moderate intensity physical activity is any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate and may make you sweat, but you are still able to hold a normal conversation.
Try some more sociable exercises, like doubles tennis, dancing, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or brisk walking with a friend. Exercising with a friend can help keep you committed. Specific fall prevention programmes such as FaME and Otago are designed to help prevent falls if you are high risk or prone to falling.
Try using an app like Public Health England's Active 10 app to monitor your walks and ensure you're walking briskly.
Are you uncomfortable exercising in a group? There are lots of home-based activities that you can do to improve strength, stamina, and flexibility: mowing the lawn, digging in the garden or pushing a wheelbarrow, or doing chair-based exercises.
As your strength, confidence and stamina improves, try to aim for the recommended 150 minutes moderate activity per week. This can be broken down into bouts of 10 - 20 minutes whenever you can fit it in.
Most importantly choose activities that you enjoy, as you are more likely to continue doing them.
Visit your GP for a check-up if you haven't exercised before; if returning from injury or if you're returning to exercise after a long break.
Always seek advice from you GP & if advised to, do not to exercise.