People over the age of sixty have a considerably lower risk of breaking bones in a fall if they perform balance and strength exercises while boosting their activity levels, according to new research from an international group of experts currently based in the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
In older people the number one cause of fatal injuries is falls but experts say that they do not have to be seen as an unavoidable aspect of old age. The experts are advising people over the age of sixty to exercise more in order to cut down the risk of suffering potential lethal falls and trips.
The University is a part of the Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination (otherwise known simply as ProFouND), which is a network funded by the European Commission that is devoted to offering the best advice about fall prevention to older people.
Never too late to start exercising
Many older individuals that have a history of falling, take a lot of medications, use a walking aid or stairlifts, or have suffer from conditions such as Parkinson's disease, arthritis, dementia or have previously had a stroke are at the greatest risk of suffering a fatal fall.
The risk is also heightened for those who have balance and strength problems, poor vision, continence problems and a terrible fear of falling. Osteoporosis can also be an issue.
A recent survey by Osteoporosis Australia found that most men erroneously believe they were not at risk, with many young men believing it to be a disease that only impacted women, but in truth fractures caused by issues associated with osteoporosis affect a fifth of all men over the age of fifty.
Working on balance and strength is vital to strengthen falls and prevent falls. Among the many options one of the better known options is Tai Chi, which is very popular in Australia, but there are many others.
Those older people with a history of falls or who have previously lived a very sedentary lifestyle but would like to become more active should visit their local GP, who can prescribe safe exercises for them to begin practising at their own ability level and increase in intensity along with their strength. Falls are not an inevitable part of growing older and exercise can significantly reduce the chances of such incidents taking place.