Though you may not realize it, one of the biggest threats to your health and well-being as you age is simply falling down.
Of course, slip-and-fall accidents at any age can have serious consequences. But for seniors and the elderly, they can literally be matters of life and death. In fact, more than half of all fatal falls involve folks aged 75 or older. And let’s not even get into how many folks in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond fracture their hips after taking a tumble.
Thankfully, though, there are a couple of measures you can take to improve your balance and reduce the risk of falls.
No, we’re not talking about lifting heavy weights or even necessarily going to the gym if you don’t want to. But the fact is, absent some form of strength-training, we will all lose our natural muscle mass and strength. Starting at age 50, you lose about 1-2 percent annually. By age 60, it’s 3 percent annually. That means by age 70, you’ll have half the strength you did at 50. And it’s that weakening that could be the difference between “catching” yourself when you begin to lose your balance and actually going to the ground.
Any form of strength-training – from using light dumbbells to doing body-weight squats – will help increase your strength. And studies have shown that no matter your age – or if you’ve ever touched a dumbbell in your life – you’re NEVER TOO OLD to benefit from strength-training. So start today. And if you don’t know how to strength-train, ask the staff here at Lourdes-Noreen McKeen to help you.
Yoga is not only a relaxing and potentially social activity, it also helps improve your balance via performing different “poses.” Don’t worry – your instructor won’t try to twist you into a pretzel or have you meditate. But he or she will have you safely practice balancing yourself on one leg and then the other to determine where your weaknesses are and what needs to be improved. In addition to building strength in your legs, yoga is a painless, stress-free way to increase the strength in your core, back and arms – all of which are vital for keeping you upright and healthy!
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