5 simple steps to prevent falls

Three older gentlemen stretching in the park

As we get older, natural changes to our bodies mean that we’re more likely to fall. Research shows that one in three people aged 65 or over fall once a year. In fact, this is the leading cause of hospitalisation in this age group and accounts for around 75% of all injury-related hospital admissions for over-65s.

While falls can be serious and impact confidence and independence, the good news is that many can be prevented.

Exercise is key

RetireAustralia’s Regional Care Manager (NSW), Gary Bruderlin, says the single most important way to prevent falls and stay independent is to be physically active.

“We lose strength, balance and muscle tone as we age, which makes us more vulnerable to falls. The best way to combat these changes is to incorporate regular strength and balance exercises into your daily routine. Tai chi, yoga and simple sit-to-stand exercises are particularly helpful.”

Falls prevention – what you need to know

April Falls Day* is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the impact of falls and how to prevent them. Exercise has been shown to reduce the number of falls over time by around 23%. It also improves balance, muscular strength, confidence, and mood. In short, it’s a great way to keep your mind and body healthy.

Here are five ideas to get you started:

Table outlining tips to prevent falls including a balance challenge exercise, sit to stand exercise, heel raises, walking and small bursts of activity

As Gary points out, the aftermath of a fall can be devastating. “Falls can impact mobility, confidence and independence, particularly if surgery is required. If people are afraid of falling again, they can become more isolated. This means joints stiffen and muscles become weaker, which is the opposite of a healthy recovery. The best way to stay safe and healthy is to focus on falls prevention.”

For exercise programs that match your fitness and ability, visit safeexerciseathome.org.au

*Organised by the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network

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