Strength and power training to mitigate fall risk
We have all heard the negative press, as we get older, we are more likely to have a fall. With that sobering statistic is the even more negative one, that shows that as we age, we are more and more likely to be at risk of hospitalization secondary to a fall. According to the CDC, approximately 3 million people aged 65 and over fall every year that requires a trip to the emergency room. Roughly 20% of those have serious injuries such as head trauma, fractures, and other serious injuries and/or complications resulting from these falls. Is this something that we are doomed to repeat for ourselves and/or our loved ones? Or is this something that we can potentially improve via an appropriate intervention?
Biology is constantly adapting to our environment and requires a certain level of stress to maintain itself. Too much stress of course is bad, like a hard fall that fractures a bone, but carefully measured stressors are great thing and needed for a strong organism. Now, we of course have an upper limit on this, and no one lives forever but why not spend the time on this planet with the ability to continue to do the things that we enjoy? As mentioned above, if we combine the right kind of stressors with good sleep and rest, optimal nutrition, then we can augment our ability to continue to do the things that we enjoy.
Balance training and mobility training is a good start to help improve ones balance and potentially decrease our risk of falls. Balance training is good in that it can help improve our ankle and hip strategy to help catch ourselves in case of a fall and may also improve our coordination. While mobility training can help keep our joints supple while also potentially help increase our awareness of our bodies ability to move in space. Again, these are a good start and still needed in the overall picture of helping decrease the potential for falls as well as possibly decreasing the fear of falling which is almost another topic in and of itself!
Strength and power training can help advance your program and allow you to continue to enjoy doing the activities you love. By definition, strength is the ability to move a force that is acting on a body. Remember, your body weight does count, but also being able to manage outside forces as well (think a grocery bag or walking up stairs with a suitcase in your hand). Power is the ability to produce or slow down a force with speed (think tripping on your carpet and quickly getting your leg under your body to catch yourself before hitting the ground). It has been shown by working on strength and power training type of exercises, then we can improve our body’s ability to adapt to the environment, potentially mitigate fall risk, and at the same time continue to do the things that we enjoy.
This knowledge may seem pretty obvious to many people but you may be wondering: I’ve never done this before and I don’t even know where to begin. This is quite common and nothing to be ashamed of. We need each other! When we want the best, we should hire a pro right? Just make sure that you hire someone that you are comfortable with, knows your relevant medical history, listens to your needs, and has a history of working with people in the population that is most at risk. I am ready to listen to your story! I can also help you improve your balance, coordination, mobility/flexibility, strength, and power.
Let me know how I may help you continue your journey with less fear, reduction of risk, and help you regain your confidence!