Falls account for 70 percent of accidental deaths in persons 75 years of age and older. For many, this becomes the beginning of the end. But in a new study, researchers highlight the exercises and techniques needed to reverse this trend. Falls and hip fractures don't have to be inevitable, the researchers said. The study is published in the latest issue of Biofeedback.
Hip fractures, more than 300,000 per year, are associated with the effects of aging: increased osteoporosis, loss of balance/increased postural sway, decreased mobility and strength, reduced visual acuity, and increased use of prescription medications. However, aging by itself may not be the sole factor. Increased falling and hip fractures may be a product of our industrial computerized age.
An underlying concept that contributes to imbalance and falling is learned disuse. The popular phrase "use it or lose it" applies. Modern man has shifted to sitting most of the day in cars and in front of computers and TV unlike our prehistoric hunting and gathering ancestors who had to walk and climb over rocks and roots during the day.
Even when function is reduced or seemingly lost, with training it may be regained, as in "use it and it regenerates." The following categories are key to relearning strength, coordination, and balance to prevent falls and hip fractures. Specific exercises can be found in the study link below.
- Increase Fitness of Core Muscles: General fitness equally improves stability, especially when we strengthen our core muscles.
- Increase Hip and Leg Muscle Strength: This will help to regain strength and flexibility, to catch ourselves as we begin to topple, and to increase coordination in the muscles that help us to an upright position.
- Increase Awareness and Balance
- Gain Confidence and Reduce Fear
- Increase Bone Strength