Fall Prevention

Active Aging

Perhaps you can relate when I say that grace and agility does not run in my family.

It was hours past the end of a family reunion feast and leftovers were being stored away in a refrigerator in the basement. I walked to the top of the staircase and looked down to see an explosion of atomic orange gelatinous chunks and white goo splattered on the staircase landing. The remnants of the orange Jell-O marshmallow dessert were everywhere, but the person who been carrying them was nowhere to be seen. I rushed down and saw a trail leading to the side where my grandma was bent over. She saw me and started to moan. I rushed her to a chair and started to wipe her down with washcloths.

For what each individual of my family lacks in the grace and agility department, they more than compensate for with their acute sniffing abilities. Noses in my family serve two functions: locating hidden desserts and ferreting out embarrassing mishaps. Sure enough, momentarily there was a stampede of footsteps coming through the stairwell and nine noses, and nine pairs of beady eyes peered down over the staircase banister.

My grandma peeked out from under the washcloth she was holding to her forehead and started to shake. Tears started rolling down her cheeks amidst the marshmallow streaks. The eyes on the staircase started frantically looking back and forth at each other. Then a hiccup of sound escaped from the washcloth and was followed by a roar of laughter. The eyes brightened as everybody else started to laugh with relief.

The youngest cousin on the staircase piped up: “Grandma, you really should enroll in tumbling classes with me!”

My grandma wholeheartedly agreed.

This episode brought to my attention the importance of fall prevention training techniques and balance training. Nobody would claim that being active isn’t an important part of anybody’s lifestyle, especially as a person ages.

There is an abundance of research confirming that regular exercise is important to the health and well-being of seniors. But just what exactly are the best methods for doing so? Maybe, as my cousin suggested, you or the older adult in your life could think about signing up for a tumbling class. But if tumbling isn’t your thing, you could try out the following ideas to incorporate regular exercise:

  1. Walk. Simple, but beneficial.
  2. Improve Balance with BOSU® Balance Trainer.
  3. Add excitement with Parkour exercise!
  4. Make it fun by enrolling in a fall prevention program at a local YMCA or community center.
  5. If you have a physical disability, don’t let that hold you back from strength training.
  6. If you don’t have the time to enroll in a program, incorporate individual exercises into your daily routine at home.
  7. Stretch. Take up Yoga or Pilates.
  8. Check out stability exercises from Super Betty!

Regular exercise will have so many benefits: increased energy, better blood circulation, improved sleep habits, reduced pain, and increased independence. If nothing else, regular exercise that incorporates balance training should reduce the chances of grandma somersaulting down the staircase with dessert.

This entry was contributed by Stephanie Berger, a Public Relations and Marketing intern at Hedstrom - Ball, Bounce and Sport. She studies at the University of South Carolina and is addicted to breakfast foods and sunshine.

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