Don’t let “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” become reality for you. Strength training can help prevent seniors from falling.
A commercial that aired in the late 1980s created a catchphrase that lives on even today. The phrase might make you giggle, but, as you age, falling can be a serious health concern. Injuries incurred from a fall can lead to surgery, therapy, medication, and other challenges that can affect a person’s independence. According to an article on MedicineNet, more than 800 Americans break a hip each day and the accident is usually caused by a fall. That is a startling statistic, but what if you could prevent yourself from being one of those 800?
Good news, you can! Strength training is proven to help prevent senior citizens from falling. Strength training improves balance and helps people gain muscle mass, both of which can prevent falls. The workouts can be simple and done at home. You can use weights, resistance bands, or other methods. Even people in their 80s can add much-needed muscle mass with effort and consistency in their training.
The important thing is that you work various parts of the body and are progressive with each exercise. What does that mean? It means you should gradually increase the amount of weight you use, which will build strength. Try starting out with a weight you can lift only a few times. Use that same weight until you can easily lift it 10 to 15 times. Then, when you can do two sets of repetitions at that weight, add more weight. This progression is how you strengthen your body.
While walking and other aerobic activities promote heart health, they do not contribute to strength-training regimens. For strength training try wall push-ups, arm curls, toe stands, and leg straightening exercises. The National Institute on Aging, a branch of the NIH, recommends doing strength exercises for all your major muscle groups two or more days per week for 30-minute sessions each day. They also remind seniors not to exercise the same muscle group any two days in a row.
Another important item is safety. Be sure you consult your doctor before begin strength training and be sure you choose exercises that will not put you at risk for falling. Remember not to hold your breath while training because that can cause changes in blood pressure. Always breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.
Because a fall can cause a senior’s overall health to deteriorate quickly and, in some cases, severely, take the action steps needed to keep yourself strong and upright. If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness programs at Causenta, including strength training for seniors, please schedule a consultation with one of our team members.