There are some difficult realities that come along with aging. One of them is that older people are simply at a greater risk for falling. Falls are actually the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in elderly people. In fact, every 11 minutes an older person falls and every 19 minutes an older person dies due to a fall. In this case, an older person is defined as anyone over the age 50.
Falls aren’t just dangerous to a person’s health. They can also seriously compromise a person’s independence. All of these facts aren’t just depressing; they’re scary. But the good news is there are definitely ways to decrease an older person’s risk of falling.
Enter “the core”. Consisting of all the muscles on the torso from shoulders to hip, the core affects balance and stability. Whether someone is sweeping the floor, picking up their grandkids, or loading the dishwasher, those core muscles are used. Most importantly, since the strength of the core affects balance and stability, maintaining the core is an important step to help reduce falls.
Of course, naturally these muscles weaken with age. But there are things people of any age–including seniors–can do to improve that core strength, balance, and stability.
How to Improve Your Core Strength, Balance, and Stability
Not all exercises have to be super labor intensive. Use the TheraBand Stability Trainers to strengthen those core muscles. You can do exercises, like the Two Leg Balance, with the aid of a chair and in the comfort of their own home. TheraBand resistance bands can also work a variety of muscle groups while improving the core. They’re versatile and travel well too. Try using one during seated abdominal crunches!
Stability balls, as the name suggests, improve stability. Try the Pro Series Exercise Ball and modify the exercises based on ability. This could mean simply sitting on the ball, feet flat on the floor, for a length of time to increase core strength. If you are able to do more, add free weights or resistance bands for an added challenge.
Finally, balance boards can certainly help with stability and balance while improving the core. The Roylan BEEP Board is a great option. In fact, BEEP stands for Balance Enhancement Exercise Program. It allows for side-to-side rocking for lateral balance reactions which make it perfect for use in slip and fall prevention protocols. Or try the Combo Balance Board which allows the user to increase difficulty as they advance.
Aging is a reality everyone faces but the risk of falling doesn’t have to be a reality. Decrease that risk by strengthening the core to improve your stability and balance.
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