Fitness and Health for Seniors
The benefits of taking part in physical activity during older age are well documented but why do the majority of seniors not take part in activities they know will benefit them? In the US participating seniors are less than 27% of the population.
One of the greatest risks to seniors are falls, said to be reduced by up to 40% by participating in regular fitness training. The second greatest unintentional injury deaths for over 60’s is falls with nearly 700,000 recorded deaths per year (WHO, 2021).
With the possibility of accidental injury and death so likely from falls, what can you do to mitigate the risks? Luckily there are simple balance and stability exercises which together can reduce the risk of potentially falls.
Fitness and Health for Seniors
Background and general info…
As a responsible health and fitness service provider Pete Fraser Fitness suggests that any health or fitness concerns individuals may have should be highlighted in the first instance with a medical practitioner prior to undertaking any level of activity.
Proprioception is the functional element we will be retraining and will ultimately be responsible for helping to stop a fall. It is defined as the sense of the body and its relation to position and space. The brain-muscle link is established and directed via the neural system without conscious control when correcting a fall. A number of sensory organs within muscle and tendon are mainly responsible for sending neural signals to the vestibular sensory area of the brain. The signals are interpreted and corrections sent back to muscle for movement adjustments. All this happens quicker than the blink of an eye! Needless to say, if these functions are untrained, a fall becomes more likely and the reverse is also true.
Balance and stability exercises for the over 60’s.
You will need to perform a series of exercises regularly, carefully and consistently but they are all simple and effective.
Here we go! You will need to perform these basic exercises on a daily basis for 5 to 10 mins, 2 or 3 times each day.
Unless stated, perform all the exercises in an upright posture: stand tall, draw shoulders back, look forward, grip belly button in.
- walk slowly on-the-spot, raising knees to hip height. Count 2 seconds up and 2 down. Minimise counter balance. Total time: 60 sec.
- walk slowly across a room toe-to-heal. Complete slowly and with control and minimise counter balance. 60 sec.
- Stand on 1 or 2 cushions. 60 sec. Try to stand still and make any corrections as small as possible. Fix gaze on a stationary object ahead.
- Stand on 1 leg for 30 sec per leg. Fix gaze on stationary object ahead.
- Single kneel to stand. 30 sec each leg. Take the knee (so to speak) and push through the legs to a standing position. Slowly lower back down to the knee and repeat on both sides. Count 2 sec up and 2 down. Note: if any hip or knee injury exists your medic should be consulted prior to performing this exercise.
Benefits in balance, stability and strength should be noted within 4 weeks.
Other training advice can be found on some of our other blogs including: Functional training