Are YOU at Risk?

She was Lucky!

I saw my friend shortly after she had taken an unexpected trip to the hospital and spent 4 hours in the emergency room.  Something as simple as carrying a bucket of rock-salt to put on her steps (so she didn’t  slip on the ice!)  could have had disastrous consequences. She was carrying a 5 lb bucket of ice melt out to sprinkle on her steps, the salt in the bucket shifted which threw her off balance, and being unable to react quickly enough to regain her footing, she wound up falling and cracking her head. Thankfully she didn’t break anything. But the sobering reality is, simple tasks can prove dangerous to your health and well-being if your stability and reaction time are not up to par.

Are you finding that your ability to maintain your balance has gone MIA? Does fear of falling prevent you from doing some of the things you used to take for granted? Aging can bring about changes in balance that if left unchecked can cause us to be more prone to falling. With loss of lower body strength and power our stability (our stay-ability) can also become compromised. With this loss of confidence in our ability to stay   on our feet (stay-ability) we begin limit hobbies and social activities that seem potentially risky. In order to make our world a bit safer, we inadvertently made our world a little bit smaller… And it’s a slippery slope. Being unable to participate in social activities with friends and family can be the first step in loss of overall quality of life.

One in 3 seniors in the US fall at least once a year, and the number goes up to 50% by age 80.

Here are a  few simple tests you can perform to assess your fall risk.

Timed get up and go  Sit on a straight back chair (17 inches) without arms with a line marked 10 feet away. Set a timer and on ‘Go’ stand and walk to the line turn and walk back to the chair and sit. Note the amount of time it took to complete. An older adult who takes more than 12 seconds to complete the test is at high risk for falling.

Chair stand test Sit in a straight back chair cross arms over the chest with hands on opposite shoulders. Set a timer and on “go’ keep back straight and  rise to a full standing position, sit back down and repeat as many times as possible in 30 sec. Rise to a fully standing position and lower to fully sitting each rep. A below average score indicates lack of leg strength and endurance and a high risk of falls.

Chair Stand Test Results:

Men /Age Average BelowAverage Women/Age Average Below Average
60-64 14-19 <14 60-64 12-17 <12
65-69 12-18 <12 65-69 11-16 <11
70-74 12-17 <12 70-74 10-15 <10
75-79 11-17 <11 75-79 10-15 <10
80-85 10-15 <10 80-85 9-14 <9

Tandem Stance  stand with one foot in front of the other with heel of back foot touching toe of front foot. Adults who are unable to maintain balance in tandem stance for more than 10 seconds are at increased risk for falls.

According to Michael E Rodgers, PhD from the Center for Physical Activity and Aging “Falls are not only the leading cause of injury related deaths, they are a significant cause of disability and a major factor contributing to nursing home placement”

While this will be the fate of many seniors it does not have to be yours.  How quickly or how well you age is in your hands. By taking a proactive approach to improving lower body strength and  the systems involved in balance control  You can halt and even reverse many of the risk factors for falling.

With 2BFit Senior Fitness Training you will get programming specifically designed to target these systems. And with proper training you can dramatically improve balance, stability and your ability to react to sudden obstacles in your  path.

Maintaining your quality of life as you age depends on your ability to continue to do the things you love and be a vital force in your community. Whether, to you, that means chasing the grandkids around, traveling  or  keeping active in volunteer activities.

To learn more about our programs and how you too can Thrive with2Bfit   call  717-361-2408 or Email 2bfit.etown@gmail.com

Move Well. Feel Better. BFit
Stacia

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