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The danger to the health of older adults or seniors when it comes to falls is incredibly high. In this video we quickly discuss the potential fatal danger that awaits individuals who have lost their ability to stabilize, walk efficiently and move with daily life activities. Again we show a 79 year old client of ours completing 3 critical exercises we use to enhance the REFLEX stability of the body in the walking pattern.
Make sure you read our detailed articles about this in the links below
Why Balance Training Is Essential
You Must Challenge The Brain With Movement
The Best Exercise For Seniors
Can you reverse the ageing process with exercise?
And to get a copy of our FREE REPORT on strength training for Older Adults go to the link below
There are several reasons for people falling and quite often it is not one thing but a combination of many. Factors include chronic diseases, environmental hazards, medication, slowed mental processing, loss of their peripheral system, loss of co-ordination, taking risks and common muscle loss. We like to refer to this most of the time as the “Use it or lose it” theory. The loss of muscle is definitely a significant contributor here, because as you sense the loss in strength and begin to avoid activities, you now begin to lose skills and other essential abilities such as balance, co-ordination and agility. Functional strength and balance go hand in hand, you must be STABLE in order to lift something heavy! Sitting on a machine such as a leg press or chest press will serve no purpose for improving your balance or stabilizers. In fact it will make it worse as the body now thinks it no longer needs the stabilizers to pick up heavy objects or move quickly etc. Unfortunately many of today’s Senior Fitness classes do exactly this!
For a training program to be fully effective it must include some kind of exercises that are trying to improve balance, agility and co-ordination first then require strength. Other abilities to consider are flexibility and to a lesser degree endurance. But if I was to break it down into a hierarchy of importance I would rate Balance Training, especially for older adults as the most important ability to start with and master.
A great balance training program will include 5 key factors.
1. Centre of gravity control- This means that the person has the ability to weight shift as seen in movements such as dancing, golf and gym movements like Woodchop. Multi directional ability is key here. Low center of gravity means greater balance.
2. Multi sensory Control – This is the ability to have great awareness of touch, pressure, knowing where your body is in space. Not relying on your eyes to move, eg walking while throwing a ball to yourself or with head turns. These are exercises typically using Eyes shut or taking the eyes of a fixed point to create the reflex response
3. Postural correction –Without doubt this is where problems originate. Ideal posture is defined as the state of muscular and skeletal balance which protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity. It is during a state of ideal posture that muscles will function most efficiently.
4. Walking enhancement –It is common to see an old person with balance issues and loss of strength shuffle along with slow walking speed, small stride length, varied stride frequency. The usually have a wide stance and at times with significant sideways movement that may produce a lot of hip and low back pain. These characteristics impair functional performance and increase the risk of falling. Exercises for improving gait are at times quite complex but even simple activities such as crawling and progressing to marching exercises can provide great results.
5. Strength, endurance. Flexibility –Last but not least loss of strength, especially in the lower body is a significant contributor to falling. Exercises such as squats, lunges, step ups are essential in building good skills and muscle development. Multi directional lunges are an excellent choice here, but they must be taught correctly and progressed slowly.
For more information make sure you go to our website and if you live in Melbourne you can request a free postural and movement assessment by going to the link below