While seemingly very common, falls can sometimes be extremely dangerous for your health, especially as you grow older. Luckily, advancements have been made to tackle this often random and unfortunate infliction. Physical therapy is one such method that could be practiced to prevent falls. If you or anyone you know is currently at risk of being fall-prone, be it due to old age or due to ailments and injuries they may have sustained, prevention is better than cure would be a good motto to live by.
Physical therapy and fall prevention
There could be many combinations of factors that lead to one falling. Given below are examples of the most common ones:
- Walking and balancing problems
- Studies have shown that when one is using multiple medications, it can lead to more fall-risk situations
- Hazards at home (like loose wires or small pets)
- Orthostatic hypotension: or low blood pressure when standing up that makes you feel light-headed and disoriented
- Faulty footwear
All this being said, being overly cautious and living in fear of the world outside might weaken your muscles. This could result in just the opposite of keeping you healthy. It can make you sicker and is not an ideal way of dealing with fall prevention in the long run.
Fall prevention physical therapy thus becomes a viable option to practice as it helps lower the chances of falling and avoids injuries by making you physically fit. Working with a physical therapist and crafting a plan together will ensure your movements are stable and swift.
5 fall prevention physical therapy exercises
Given below are 5 such fall prevention physical therapy exercises you could include in your daily routine to ensure general health and wellbeing:
The single–leg stance
This exercise helps you learn to balance better by improving the strength and balance of each leg individually.
Place your hands on the top of a chair. Stretch your arm out and keep your body at arms-length. Slowly bring your left leg up and balance yourself on your right leg for 5 seconds, then bring it down. Repeat this five times. Switch to the opposite leg and do the same.
Obstacles are a part of life, and this heel–to–toe walk exercise will help you maintain your balance when your encounter physical ones.
Start by positioning the heel of your left foot just in front of the toes of your right foot (they should almost be touching). Pick a spot a few paces ahead and focus on it. Now begin to slowly and steadily walk towards it by taking one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, toe to heel, almost touching but not quite. Walk 20 paces ahead and turn around and return once done. Repeat this exercise 5 times.
Stand and sit
As simple as the stand-and-sit exercise may sound, it not only improves your balance but it strengthens your core and your legs and is a good solid workout.
Start by scooting or walking your hips up to the edge of a chair. Next, bring your toes back underneath your knees. Now lean a bit forward and bring your nose over your toes. Next, push up with your legs to the standing position.
Now sit and bend your legs at the knees while pushing your hips towards the chair. You can also choose to lower your body to a seated position. Make sure to pause before doing the next repetition, and for best results, aim for ten repetitions
Strengthen your calf and thigh muscles with the heel-raise exercise. Start by standing with the back of a chair in front of you. Keep your feet 6–8 inches apart, flat on the floor, and with a slight bend in your knees, your legs should be parallel to each other.
Next, bring up your heels and rise to the balls of your feet. Be sure to use the aforementioned back of the chair for balance. Do it in reverse and go back to the starting position. Complete at least two sets with 10-15 repetitions for the most effective results.
Knee extension exercise will help strengthen your knees and legs. You will need a resistance band for this one. Wrap a resistance band around your ankle. Lie on your back with your knee resting on your chest. Next, slowly extend your knee until the leg is fully extended. Return slowly to the start position. Repeat at least ten times.
Perform fall prevention physical therapy exercises under a professional’s supervision
If you are looking for preventive physical therapy, visit a PT office today. Ensure that the physical therapist you choose to work with is willing to help you perform the exercises correctly to make the most out of them.