5 Great exercises for fall prevention

By Machaela Magennis, 7:06 am on

Last week, I spoke about the consequences of falls. This week I will give you some exercise to help prevent falls, by building balance and strength. It is recommended that these exercises be done on two non-consecutive days a week. This will help to minimise muscle strain and will trick your body into being forced to remember them all over again. In the beginning, just hold a chair as you do them. As you improve, you can hold the chair with one finger and then use no hands. For the brave and confident ones among us (and under the guidance of a care partner or family member), you could even try it with your eyes closed! But please, please, please do not do it with your eyes closed unless someone is very close to you to help you steady yourself if you need it.

  1. Standing on one foot
    • Stand on one foot for 30 seconds.
    • Then stand on the other foot for 30 seconds.
    • Repeat with each leg again two more times (a total of 3 times per leg).
  2. “Tightrope” walking
    • Pretend you are walking on an imaginary tightrope by positioning the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. The heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
    • Choose a spot just ahead and focus on it to remain steady while walking.
    • Take a step. Put the heel just in front of the toe of the other foot.
    • Repeat for 20 steps and turn around and return to your starting point using the same method.
  3. Back leg raises
    • Stand behind a sturdy chair or onto a table, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
    • Breathe out and slowly lift one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Keep your toe flexed and try not to lean forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
    • Hold position for 1 second.
    • Breathe in as you slowly lower your leg.
    • Do the same on the other leg.
    • Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg again.
    • As you improve, you can hold your position for longer each time if you would like.
  4. Side leg raises
    • Stand behind a sturdy chair or table with feet slightly apart, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
    • Breathe out and slowly lift one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
    • Hold position for 1 second.
    • Breathe in as you slowly lower your leg.
    • Do the same on the other leg.
    • Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg again.
    • You can also hold this position for longer each time as you improve this exercise.
  5. Chair squats
    • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench.
    • Keeping your back straight, use your thighs and heels to stand up straight without leaning forward.
    • Push through your heels and rise to a standing position.
    • Do three sets of 8–15 repetitions.
    • This will get your heart pumping so start slowly and build up to the 15 repetitions.
  6. These exercises are effective and fun, and are one of many ways to prevent falls. Stay tuned next week for some more ideas on preventing falls and staying safe

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