Frequently I will see something in everyday life that makes my thoughts go right into the realm of health, fitness, and/or nutrition. Just this past weekend I was down on the green in Danbury for the last of their Summer Concert Series (I must say that the band, Deja Blue, was awesome!). While I was there I witnessed what looked to be an almost 80-year-old woman take a near-fall as she walked with a group of people. She stumbled, lost her balance and her knees buckled, but fortunately was not hurt. Luckily the people she was kept her from tumbling to the ground.
This incident made me think of the danger of falls - which, by the way, is the leading cause of injury among U.S. adults aged 65 years and older - as well as the importance of preventing those potentially serious accidents that can result in various fractures, traumas, and even death.
A fall can happen in a split second. Slipping on an uneven or slippery surface, tripping over an obstacle, or even something as simple as wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause loss of balance and a tumble. It happens more often than we think.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to avert accidental falls - and exercise is one of the best preventive measures.
This is perhaps the least-known but nevertheless very important aspect of physical fitness. While falls are most common among older Americans, having the ability to balance is still important in younger people...especially those that participate in sports.
Which exercises are best to prevent this kind of accidents?
Balance training combined with strength and flexibility work will help improve your stability, agility, and coordination, making you less prone to falls and injuries.
Balance workouts improve stability and coordination that will keep you from falling down.
Flexibility exercises provide balance to various muscle groups, keep the joints, tendons and ligaments supple, and give you a better range of motion. As a result, your movements - whether walking or just doing regular chores - will be less clumsy and more coordinated.
Strength training: As we age, our muscle mass declines and our body becomes weaker. Exercises that strengthen our muscles will make us more resistant to falls and injuries.
An added advantage of strength training, including weight- bearing exercises, is that it will prevent bone density loss that occurs in osteoporosis. The less brittle your bones are, the less risk there is of serious fractures.
For best results, ask your trainer to include all these workouts - while taking into account your age and fitness level - into your regular exercise routine.