*Imagine’s version of a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) is to take a healthy habit you’re already participating in (exercises, stretches, cardio, nutrition, etc) and share
a small change or addition so that you receive maximum benefit for your efforts
With summer heat having rolled over the Lowcountry, we hope everyone is staying inside and enjoying the comfort of an air-conditioned house. Our BOGO this month? Working on your balance while doing what you’re already doing—staying cool inside!
Balance can be a big issue for all of us no matter what your activity level or age. Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can cause a multitude of injuries from concussions to broken hips as well as keep us from being active in the community and enjoying time with our families. Depending on your stage in life, you may need to simply walk safely to your mailbox without falling…or who knows, maybe you’d like to land triple handspring. Regardless, below you’ll find a simple exercise to work on your balance and prevent falls. Beneath the exercise we’re suggesting, please don’t miss our tips for preventing falls. If balance isn’t a problem for you, consider printing this information out and sharing it with a friend or family member who might benefit. And remember, our therapists at Imagine are experts in fall prevention and balance, so please call us for a free consult—this exercise is only one of many that can help with balance.
In the picture above you’ll see that our exercise model, Liam, is doing a great job simply standing on one leg. Doing this several times a day is a simple way to increase your balance! The safest place to perform this exercise is a doorway, as you can hold onto something if needed (we don’t recommend the driveway although it’s pictured above!).
The goal here is to be able to stand on one leg for as long as possible. Thirty seconds is the gold standard, and if you’re only able to do 5 seconds or less please understand you’re at high risk for falls. Please make sure and read on to learn how to prevent one.
If this exercise is too difficult try putting one leg in front of the other like you’re standing on a balance beam. This should challenge
you, but allow you to use both leg muscles until you’ve improved enough to perform The Stork. Maybe one day you’ll be able to walk the balance beam like Liam!
Tips for Preventing Falls
- Begin a regular exercise program. Look for activities that you enjoy regardless of fitness level like walking or gardening. Your physical therapist can provide you with a detailed plan of exercises that will target posture, leg strength, and balance
- Review your medication with your doctor. Studies show that taking 4 or more medications at a time leads to greater fall risk, as some combinations can make you feel dizzy or sleepy. If you are experiencing frequent dizziness or vertigo, make it a point to discuss it with your doctor.
- Have your vision checked at least once per year.
- Make the following adjustments to your home, as about 1/2 of falls happen at home:
- Remove things you can trip over (ie electric cords, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Improve the lighting in your home by placing nightlights in the bathroom and keeping lights turned on in the daytime.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- If necessary, have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
- Use non-slip mats in the tub and on bathroom floors.
- Make sure you have handrails and lights on all staircases.
- Wear shoes inside and outside your house. Avoid wearing flip flops, slippers or going barefoot.
- Also, studies show that off the shelf arch supports can decrease the risk of falls. Our therapists at Imagine are happy to help you get these if you’re interested!
Imagine Physical Therapy has locations in Mount Pleasant, Charleston / West Ashley and on Daniel Island. Our mission is to provide a physical therapy experience that is immeasurably better than could be asked or imagined.
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