April is a special month. This year it includes our Easter celebrations and time with family and friends. It’s time to enjoy the cooler days of Autumn and reflect on our history on Anzac Day. It’s also time to consider an important aspect of our health, with April being Falls Prevention Month.
Research shows that 1 in 3 Australians over the age of 65 suffer a fall each year and 30% of these falls require medical attention. The most common injury sites are the head and neck (29%) and the hip and leg (27%) which can often result in lengthy rehabilitation.
The other significant factor is the issue of reduced confidence as a previous fall increases the risk of future falls and can become an ongoing problem for daily life activities. What is most significant is that a large percentage of these incidents can be avoided, with the implementation of some simple daily prevention strategies.
Like many other aspects of health, our balance deteriorates with age, unless we take positive steps to avoid these changes. Our fitness, muscles, bones and joints all begin to decline as part of the ageing process but we can prevent this with the appropriate training. Fitness and strength are keys to maintaining our balance, and incorporating specific balance exercises will enhance your success.
It is never too late to start a new program to improve your fitness, strength and balance. The crucial element is making the commitment to change your habits and improve your health. There are many ways to incorporate the right exercises into your week and if you need extra help make sure you contact a suitable health professional who is skilled in this area. Physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and fitness trainers can all provide you with the right guidance and support.
Falls risk is not something to be embarrassed about. Far too often we see individuals avoid seeking help until the problem is quite severe because they don’t want to discuss it with family and friends. The best course of action is being open and honest, having those conversations so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent falls from becoming a problem in the first place.
Exercising with family and friends is a great option because you multiply the benefits and enjoy some quality time together. It provides the physical benefits of exercise to improve your fitness, strength and balance. You also enjoy the mental health benefits including improved concentration, cognitive function and an increased feeling of wellbeing and happiness.
So during the month of April have a think about your balance and falls risk. Remember that prevention is always the best option so you might consider adding a few extra exercise sessions to your week, or simply changing your current plan. Just because the leaves start falling off the trees at this time of year doesn’t mean you have to follow suit! Enjoy this beautiful time of year and be proactive with your health.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.