According to Australian government health reports, falls are the leading cause of injury in older Australians, accounting for over 30% of all hospital admissions. The risk of falling increases with age and are generally linked to a decline in balance, strength, flexibility, and muscle mass.
It’s estimated up to 1 million Australians over the age of 65 experience falls every year. This estimation leads to one fall every five minutes!
However, there are simple ways to prevent a fall from happening. The best way to keep yourself safe is to focus on a variety of balance and physical exercises. In this article we will share some of the best ways to ensure you can keep healthy and reduce accidents as you age.
So, why are over 50s in Australia at risk of damaging falls?
As you get older, the risk of falling increases. This is because our bodies change as we age. The muscles become weaker and less flexible, which makes it more difficult for us to move around safely. In Australia, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation among people aged 65 years and older. When we’re young, we literally “bounce”, due to the strength of our bones and general agility.
According to research published in The Lancet, falls also account for more than one-third (33%) of all deaths from unintentional injuries among this age group. The figures are also much higher for those who suffer injuries as part of falls such as broken bones, head trauma, hip fractures and strains. An 18 year old can have a fall, stand up, and brush themselves off with only their ego damaged. A 75 year old can have the same fall and may well need a stint in hospital and a long recovery, or worse.
Halting the decline in balance and strength
Balance and strength decline with age. But by taking some active steps and measures, you can halt this decline and even reverse its impact. As we always say at Fitat60, it’s never too late to make a start and to enjoy improvement.
It’s so important to be active and to stretch regularly to keep the muscles supple. As well as feeling great, exercise keeps the mind active and the weight down.
Strength declines faster in people who are overweight as any extra weight puts more stress on joints and muscles when we walk or lift something heavy and that makes us ultimately weaker. In other words, everything is having to work harder to combat the extra weight. Additionally, the extra weight increases our risk for diabetes-related complications like neuropathy (numbness/tingling), which also directly affects balance.
Exercise is good for your overall health, but it can also help you maintain a sense of balance, which is crucial for preventing falls. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym or running on a treadmill – it can be something as simple as walking around the block with friends every day or doing stretches at home. The important thing is finding an activity that suits your needs and interests.
Falls are preventable with the right exercise, balance and muscle strength program
If you want to avoid the risk of falling and breaking a bone, it’s important to get started with a healthy lifestyle now. That includes:
- Regular exercise such as walking, stretching, balance exercises and yoga
- A diet that includes fibre, protein and calcium
- Avoiding smoking or drinking too much alcohol
- Taking medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor
- Collagen supplements are a great way to prevent falls in old age… Collagen is the main structural protein in the body, and it helps keep your muscles and joints strong
- Wearing shoes with good support and traction when walking outside
- Keeping clutter from accumulating around the house so that there are no unexpected obstacles or trip hazards
Exercise can also help reduce stress by lowering blood pressure, controlling cholesterol levels and improving sleep quality. As we age, we need to do more simple exercises than when we were younger because our bodies become less flexible over time, making us more prone to injury.
Balance is something we take for granted when we’re young but it becomes a precious commodity as we age. It becomes vital to enable us to do simple things like walking or standing up from a sitting down. It is essential to reduce the risk of falling over while doing simple everyday tasks!
So, what are your next steps…
Falls are a serious issue, but they don’t have to be relevant for you. With the right exercise and balance program, you can keep yourself upright and, on your feet well into old age.
Incorporate balance and strength routines into your daily life and reap the benefits in reducing falls, and increasing your likelihood of “bouncing” without injury if you do. Additionally, take supplements like Collagen to strengthen your muscles and bones from the inside.
Why not look at our 7-day balance program to improve your balance and strength? Our 7-day video balance training course for only $5!