Published on June 11, 2012

Regular exercise reduces fall risk

Help prevent dangerous tumbles around the home.

strength trainingAs we age, the likelihood of stumbling over a piece of furniture, a rickety stair step or even a furry friend increases. And it’s not because we suddenly find ourselves with two left feet! What’s likely tripping you up is a deteriorating sense of balance or failing eyesight due to the natural aging process. Medication side effects, such as blurred vision or dizziness, can also increase the risk of falling. And for those suffering chronic or acute pain, extended periods of inactivity impair balance.

The good news is that falls can be prevented, and Mercy Home Health is committed to helping patients move through their daily activities without a slip. Topping the list of risk reducers is regular exercise. “Joints tighten and muscles grow weak when you regularly sit for extended periods of time,” explains Deborah Ludwig, PT, manager of Therapy Services for Mercy Home Health. “Our physical therapists work with patients to improve mobility, range of motion and strength.”

In addition, Ludwig recommends these simple steps to prevent falls:

  • Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.
  • Keep your home well lit and free of clutter.
  • Use a cane or walker if recommended by your physician.
  • Know the side effects of all your medications.
  • Get up slowly and take time to regain your balance.
  • Wear rubber soled, low-heeled shoes that fasten securely.

Creature Comforts

A dog’s or cat’s unbridled joy to see you can cause a tangled mess of paws and feet. To avoid a tumble, always know where your pet is before getting up and moving around. Also, consider calling on neighbors or family to help walk your furry friend if you have difficulty with your balance.