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Fall Prevention Exercises for Older Adults

Myles Dias, Master Trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist
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As we age, the systems that help us maintain balance, including muscles, bones, joints and vision deteriorate. But it’s never too late to start protecting the body against the inevitable changes that can trigger falls among older people.  A regular exercise routine can make an enormous impact on safety by strengthening the body, boosting blood flow to the extremities, improving neurological function and even helping to enhance the body’s proprioceptive abilities.  It's best to focus on the body's largest, most powerful muscle groups, such as the glutes, quads and core, while also performing single-leg and balancing



Here are five exercises that can help keep you strong and stable through the years:


1.  Alternating Lunges:  Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Using a chair for balance, step

forward with one foot keeping the back straight. Bend the front knee until the back knee is almost touching the ground. Make sure the front knee doesn’t extend past the front toes. Then push through the front foot to return to standing. Repeat with the opposite leg and complete ten repetitions per leg. As you gain strength, you can perform this exercise without holding onto a chair.

2.  Single-Leg Stands:  Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. If needed, hold onto a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance. Lift one foot and hip off of the floor while keeping the torso straight and without leaning toward your planted foot. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, and then slowly return it to the floor. Repeat on the opposite leg and perform five repetitions on each leg. As you progress at this exercise, you can perform it without holding onto anything and increase the time.

3.  Sit-to-Stands:  Begin seated in a chair without arm rests. Keep the arms at the side of

the head or extended in front of the body. Using the legs and glutes, push the body up to a

standing position. Slowly lower the body and touch the glutes to the chair and repeat.

Perform 10 to 12 repetitions.

4.  Chair Leg Raises:  Begin seated in a sturdy chair. Holding the bottom of the chair with both hands, lift both legs up and bring your knee in toward your chest without moving your upper body. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions.

5.  Slow Toe Touches:  Sit at the end of a chair with feet together. Slowly roll the upper body

down reaching fingers toward ankles, middle of the foot and finally toes. Hold each for a count of three seconds and return to the beginning position. Keep the legs straight the entire time and do not bounce. Try each mark going only as far as your current level of flexibility allows. Slowly roll back up to the beginning position. Do each of these three marks daily.


In my next blog I’ll discuss the importance of exercise in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Myles Dias, Master Trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist

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