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May Trainer Tip: To fall or not to fall

May 13, 2015

From Joe Peterson
Education: SUNY Cortland: BSEd in Physical Education with Concentration in Adapted Physical Education; Florida Tech: BS in Business Administration

•    Athletic and Tactical Performance and Conditioning
•    Sport Specific Testing and Training for Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Skiing, Soccer, and Track and Field (SPARQ Testing)
•    Functional and Plyometric Training
•    FMS Testing
•    Weight reduction and muscle development through variety of training techniques
•    Tactical and General Fitness Testing

To fall or not to fall…


If you chose not to fall…you have excellent mental health!


Among older adults (aged 65+), according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand (Academic Emergency Medicine 2000).


Fortunately, falls are public health problems that are largely preventable!


According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 4 ways you can prevent falls: Exercise to improve balance and strength; have your medicines reviewed; have your vision checked; and make your home safer.


Let’s look into the first one in detail (Exercise to improve balance and strength).

There are many things that you can do to improve your balance.

First one is to take up Tai Chi classes. Island Health offers 2 classes of Tai Chi at our downtown location on Tuesdays at 10:00am and Thursdays at 6:30pm.


The second is to schedule an appointment with any of our Exercise Physiologists and they will review your history and current issues. They will develop a simple workout plan that you can work on while you are at the gym. They will cover balance, lower body strength, core strength, and ensure that you are performing weight bearing exercises to increase bone density (to lower the chance of fractures).


Lastly, these simple home exercises that you can perform every time you come to Island:

1)      One foot balance: Stand barefoot against the wall (or chair). Lift your left foot off the floor (balancing on your right foot). Try to maintain your balance for 30 seconds without bringing your left foot down and/or touch the wall/chair. If you need to bring your foot down or touch the wall/chair, please do it. If you can’t do the full 30 seconds, start with 5 seconds and then increase it over time. Then do the other side again.

To increase difficulty, take 1 or 2 steps away from the wall/chair. Stand on one foot and try to touch the wall/chair with your opposite arm (standing on right foot, touch with your left arm). 

2)      Walk toe to toe in a straight line (for approx. 20 feet).

To increase difficulty, hold some kind of weighted object in your hand while walking in a straight line. Switch hands halfway.

3)      Chair Squats: Stand in front of a chair and keep your feet about a foot apart. Squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair, keeping your knees behind your toes. Once you touch the chair, stand back up to the starting position. Over time, you should be able to gently tap the chair with your buttocks (without actually resting on the chair) and stand up. Do this 10 times twice.

To increase difficulty, add some weight to your chest while performing squats.

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