As we age, various changes take place in our body that can affect our balance and coordination. This can increase the risk of falls, which can result in serious injuries. Physiotherapy, in the form of regular exercises targeted to improve balance, coordination and lower limb strength, can help to prevent falls and improve overall balance, especially in older adults.
Age-related changes can affect various factors that contribute to our balance. These include sensory changes such as decline in vision, changes in muscle mass and strength, and slower reaction times. Other factors such as chronic conditions, medication side effects, as well as poor nutrition can also contribute to balance issues. Environmental hazards can also contribute to our risk of falls.
The good news is that by engaging in regular balance rehabilitation exercise, we can overcome many of these challenges and reduce the risk of having a fall. These exercises are designed to improve balance control, proprioception, muscle strength, flexibility and overall coordination.
Balance exercises can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Some examples of simple exercises are standing on one leg, standing up from a chair and sitting back down slowly, and standing up on your tip toes (always make sure you are safe e.g next to a table/bench that you can hold on to when performing balance exercises). Other exercises can incorporate more dynamic movement or equipment such as wobble boards.
Incorporating regular balance exercises into daily routines can be life changing for older adults. By improving balance, lower limb strength and coordination we can reduce risk of falls and enjoy a better quality of life.
If you feel you would benefit from a balance exercise program, please contact your physiotherapist, Shanee at Caulfield Natural Health Clinic, where you will be assessed and a program will be tailored specifically for your needs, whether that be a home exercise program or an in rooms program.