Falling can be scary. But falling when we are older is even scarier!
As we age, the body becomes less efficient. Cells that are responsible for building new bones or fighting infections become slower. As we age the process of generating new cells decreases – it is why we tend to get wrinkles or osteoporosis. These can be contributing factors to why we fall but not the only ones.
Unfortunately, our vision also suffers as the aging process occurs. Vision is linked to many bodily systems and plays a massive part in daily activities. Sometimes the reason we fall is because we have misinterpreted or misjudged what are eyes are telling us.
It can be daunting having a fall when we are older. The Exercise and Sport Science Australia’s (ESSA) Position Statement (2019) states that one in three Australian’s over 65 years will experience at minimum one fall per year. As we get older, our chance of fall increases because we tend to stop being active and stop exercising, so the strength in our muscles do decrease as well as our perception and balance. Another frightening statistics shows if you have been hospitalized after a fall, perhaps broken a bone, in particular your hip or dislocated your hip there is an 80% chance you will not be discharged.
Those statistics can be alarming! Thankfully, there is a way in which we can prevent falls in the older population. Research suggests in order to prevent falls, balance and lower extremity strength are two main areas that require attention. How do we work on balance and strength? We do it through exercise!