Today, our special guest expert, Kelly Carson from At Home Fitness, offers some great balance and fall prevention tips and exercises. Falls often cause seniors to lose their independence and can even be deadly. With a little prevention and some moderate exercise, you can reduce your risk of falling and increase your chances to stay independent longer.
NOSE OVER TOES! Balance and Standing with Ease
Getting up and down can be difficult for some elders, and can lead to falling. Kelly shares the secret to standing up with ease!
Getting from a sit to stand position from a chair, couch, bed, wheelchair, or car has little to do with strength and EVERYTHING to do with “getting your nose OVER your toes”.
First: Slide, or lift your bottom to the edge of whatever you’re sitting on.
Second: Lean FORWARD aiming to get your nose OVER your toes. Be mindful to not put your head DOWN with your chin in your chest- NO GOOD and risky for falls!!! Get your head FORWARD, not down. Keeping your head forward getting your nose over your toes, now stand up.
*For those of you assisting a senior to stand up, the same rule applies. Have them get their bottom to the edge of whatever it is they’re sitting on. Don’t grab under their arms to lift them. This takes their ability to help away which puts the entire workload on you (and only reduces their abilities and adds to fall risk in the long-term). Instead, whether using a gait belt or not, assist them by gently pushing them forward in their mid back area. This will help facilitate “nose over toes”. You can also have them use momentum to make it easier.
BALANCE IS THE KEY! Simple Exercises for Increased Balance and Fall Prevention
Try these easy balance exercises standing in front of the kitchen sink. It is the best and safest place in the house to hold on to or grab if you start to lose your balance.
- Slowly go up on your toes and back on your heels lifting your toes up. Don’t stick your bottom out when you go back on your toes. Maintain good posture throughout. Holding on with both hands is the easiest, one hand is a little more challenging, and no hands will be the hardest. To also increase the challenge, you can do the exercie with one eye closed, and then with both eyes closed. Do 10 repetitions.
- Maintaining good posture without holding on, lift one foot off of the floor. It doesn’t have to be lifted high, just off of the floor. Also, don’t let the legs touch together, keep them apart. The goal is to work up to being able to stand on each leg for 30 seconds without holding on with your eyes open. It will usually be easier with shoes on, rather than barefoot. To increase the challenge, do it with one eye closed and work up to 30 seconds. For the greatest challenge, do it with both eyes closed for 30 seconds.
If you are concerned about falling, we offer great fall prevention resources and our team can provide a personalized fall risk assessment for you! We also offer home caregiver services to ensure your safety while aging-in-place in the comfort of your home. Contact us at 727-447-5845 to learn more about balance and fall prevention, senior safety and services.
Kelly Carson is the founder of At Home Fitness, personal training for older adults in Pinellas County, Florida.