Thursday, April 25, 2024

Better balance for fall prevention

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It’s never too late to get active. The Better Balance for Fall Prevention campaign, developed by the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network and supported by COTA NSW, has been launched in conjunction with April Falls Month.

The last two years have been difficult with many social and fitness groups unable to continue due to COVID. This has contributed to an increase in inactivity and deconditioning in many adults regardless of ability. The Better Balance for Fall Prevention campaign aims to help older people find appropriate exercise programs to meet their needs and interests.

For optimal physical and mental health, it is recommended that all adults – regardless of age, health, or ability – to do 30-60min of physical activity most days. To prevent falls and maintain independence this should include exercise or activities that improve strength and balance. Every bit of activity helps.

Professor Cathie Sherrington, an expert researcher at Sydney University, in the field of falls prevention says, “Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older people, but research has shown that falls can be prevented.”

Exercise of any type has been shown to reduce the risk of falling by 23%. This means that if 1,000 people in a community experiencing 850 falls a year started and maintained an exercise program, they would experience 195 fewer falls due to that exercise over the course of a year.

“We have found that placing a greater emphasis on balance and strength training and slowly building up to a high challenge can further increase the effects of exercise on reducing falls by up to 40%,” said Prof Sherrington.

Our April Falls webpage has been created to make it easy for you to find local exercise programs or Health professionals such as a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist or Fitness trainer.

Why not discover what services are available in your local area, learn about common myths surrounds falls and ageing, and complete the home safety checklist?

NSW Health also provide introductory fall prevention exercise programs which may help you get started.

Speak to your local GP if you are concerned about your health – you may also be eligible for the Enhanced Primary Care referral program. This will allow you to start your exercise journey safely.

Whatever way you choose to start, begin slow and build up gradually. Every bit helps!

Visit www.fallsnetwork.neura.edu.au

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