Do you know the leading cause of injury for older Americans? It may surprise you to know that falls send seven million seniors to the hospital with injuries each year. Sometimes those injuries can leave seniors disabled. Falls can even be fatal. Exercising is one of the best ways to protect yourself from this danger. Here’s how working out can prevent you from falling.
Increases Muscle Mass
As you age, you lose a lot of muscle mass. This decrease in muscle, also known as sarcopenia, is a progressive phenomenon that begins in your 30s and continues to impact your health as you get older. While you can’t halt the aging process altogether, you can take steps to ward off the harmful side effects, like falling. Doing the right exercises can increase your muscle mass and slow the process of sarcopenia. Simple toning moves, like lunges, tricep kickbacks, and toe touches, can improve your overall muscle tone and help you stay stable as you get older.
Strengthens Your Bones
Having strong bones is important for preventing falls and injuries as the result of falls. Adding some weight-bearing workout moves to your routine can keep your bones in top shape. This is especially important for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis. Including some higher-impact workouts in your fitness routine stimulates the production of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are cells essential for the growth of bones and for the prevention of fractures and injuries that can result from falling. So break out some strengthening moves to keep your bones healthy.
Prevents Debilitating Illness
Certain diseases, like diabetes, can cause symptoms in your body that lead to serious falls. Even the medications you take for these preventable illnesses can make you more prone to falling. But you can fend off illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, by sticking to a regular fitness plan. There are a variety of indoor workouts to improve your overall health. You can try some step, balance, or strength exercises while you’re at the gym. If you’re looking to stay in shape at home, work out with exercise videos or play some exercise games on the Wii. You’ll be strengthening your immune system while you build those healthy bones and muscles.
Keeps Your Mind Sharp
You may surprised to know that exercise has been proven to enhance your brain as well as your body. A regular exercise routine can improve cognitive function and slow down your brain’s aging process by as much as 10 years. This makes you less susceptible to conditions that could cause you to fall such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. To get the most brain boost from your fitness plan, make sure you include aerobic exercise along with resistance training. Even slower-paced workouts like tai chi may help you keep your brain healthy, strong, and happy. Keeping your brain healthy is a good way to ward of disease and improve your focus to help your regain your balance if you do fall.
Your balance is something you may take for granted. But poor balance can cause you to fall as you get older. Studies show that balance training can decrease the chances of seniors suffering serious falls. You can try standing on one foot at a time for super-simple balance training. One of the best ways to improve your balance is to take some yoga classes. Balancing yoga poses, such as half-moon and tree pose, are wonderful ways to help you keep yourself from falling. Be careful when trying out these poses and make modifications that fit your body and ability. If you need a little help, consider hiring a personal yoga coach or taking a beginner’s class to put yourself on the right path.
Falls are cause millions of injuries each year, but they don’t have to happen. By including exercise in your life, you can decrease your risk of falling and increase your chances of living a happy, healthy life.