This article is written by Sharon Wagner of seniorfriendly.info
For seniors, a single fall can cause serious injuries that impact the rest of their lives. Falls can even be fatal. Preventing falls is the best way to prevent life-altering injuries from impacting the health, happiness and independence of older adults. Regular exercise is the easiest way to keep falls from happening. If you are looking for ways to prevent falls for yourself or a loved one, look no further than these easy fitness moves:
- Step Up to Simple Indoor Workouts
Many older adults find it difficult to get outside for walks and daily exercise. But being indoors shouldn’t prevent seniors from getting the exercise they need to stay balanced and healthy. Look into easy indoor exercises, like the ones listed in this article that take only minutes to complete. Work out at home with some basic step workouts, exercise videos or simple toning moves. For those who have access to a gym, walking on a treadmill or swimming laps in a pool, like YWCA’s Indoor Pool, can improve strength and overall health.
- Boost Your Balance with Yoga
Maintaining good balance is a big part of preventing falls. One of the most effective methods for seniors to enhance their balance is to start a yoga practice. Daily yoga balance moves can help older adults improve their stability, and gently strengthens their muscles in the process. Balance poses will even enhance posture and strengthen your core. At Charlotte’s YWCA, Yoga is offered every day except Sunday. And the new Tai Chi class with Industrial Strength is perfect for working on balance! Prefer to practice those poses in private? You can find beginner’s yoga tips online, as well as instructional videos to help you perfect and modify poses.
- Make Strength Training a Top Priority
So often, seniors focus on walking and cardio to keep themselves in shape. But maintaining muscle mass is crucial to preventing falls, and strength training is the best way to build healthy muscles. To work on your strength without using complicated machinery or heavy weights, try these equipment-free moves that can help seniors restore muscle mass. Squats will increase leg muscle and strength, while other moves can work to enhance the rest of your body. Go slowly and be intentional with your strength training, and be sure to stretch to prevent injuries and discomfort after your workout.
- Improve Flexibility through Pilates
Decreased flexibility can also cause older adults to fall. For a low-impact way to boost flexibility, seniors should look to workouts like Pilates. Pilates is highly effective in improving flexibility without causing any unnecessary strain to the rest of the body. It’s a gentle, yet highly effective, method to build long, lean muscles as well. While you can certainly learn Pilates from online tutorials, the best way to benefit from it is to practice with a class or private instructor (Pilates classes are offered three times a week at YWCA Central Carolinas). This will help you modify moves and prevent any injuries to your muscles or joints.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight with Cardio
Balance and strength training are vital to staving off falls, but seniors should also take care to maintain a healthy weight. Getting at least 30 minutes of cardio a few times a week can help older adults prevent weight and waistline issues that can lead to serious fall injuries. Decreasing body weight is also a good way to boost the immune system and prevent diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. To make the most of your cardio, be sure to fuel your workouts with a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Falls are a serious issue for seniors, but they don’t have to be a part of every senior’s life. For most older adults, a regular fitness routine can prevent falls and help them maintain control over their lives. If you or someone you love is at risk for serious injury from falls, try working these simple workouts into daily routines. Doing so could just save a life.