It’s that time of year when we all need to pay extra attention to slipping and falling in the icy cold weather. This is especially true for older adults. The results from falls in older adults account for over 65% of debilitating and life changing injuries for them. Many of these injuries can be reduced or even prevented with the help of a trained professional physical therapist. Below are a couple of ways that physical therapy can help prevent falls in older adults.
Incorporating Balance Exercises Into Your Routine To Prevent Falls
As we age our muscles become weaker and stiffer. If there is an impact such as a fall to our muscles and joints the consequences can be severe. Practicing daily balance exercises that increase your flexibility and range of motion will help maintain your balance when in a tricky or slippery situation. This will help prevent a fall. If you practice balance and increase flexibility and you do fall there is a much greater chance that you will be able to recover faster if an injury does occur. Doing exercises on a regular basis will also help improve your general walking and balance.
Increase Muscle Strength With Physical Therapy
Along with increasing your flexibility while doing physical therapy you will be strengthening your muscles. Having stronger muscles and joints will enable you to resist a potential fall. You will also be able to hold yourself up better or have the extra strength to grab onto something that will help keep your balance. If you do fall having muscles and joint that are in good condition will prevent serious injuries.
It is important to make sure that your living space, office or any other places you frequent are clear of any clutter that could be a tripping hazard such as a rug or uneven steps. You’ll also want to make sure that you outside walkways are clear and have any necessary deicing materials such as salt easily available in poor weather. Be sure to check your medication and ask your doctor if you might be taking anything that could affect your balance or vision. Last but not least, if you require some kind of walking assistance such as a walker or cane be sure to have it at all times especially during the winter months. If at all possible try to have someone with you while walking outside in the winter months incase of a fall they will be there to help you.
If you have specific questions or concerns about your balance and muscle strength be sure to consult your physical therapist and/or doctor.