Fall Prevention Tips: Sun Health exercise physiologist knocks down some common myths about falls.
MYTH: Falls are a normal part of aging.
REALITY: Don’t fall for this myth. Falls are not an inevitable result of aging. In fact, research shows that falls are among the most preventable causes of injury to older adults.
MYTH: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
REALITY: Playing it safe can be a smart tactic for preventing falls, but not if it means living like a hermit, restricting your daily activities and giving up things you once enjoyed. Aging experts agree that withdrawing into an isolated lifestyle can cause or worsen emotional and physical problems, including falls. Conversely, physical activities will improve your strength, range of motion and balance. Socializing is good for overall health and well-being. Social and active adults tend to live independently longer than sedentary hermits.
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MYTH: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.
REALITY: It is true that our muscles decline with age, but exercise can counter the decline and help us regain strength and flexibility. Walking works the hamstrings, calves and small muscles around the ankles, all muscles that bolster balance and reduce the risk of falls. Swimming is another game changer. Regular swimmers appear to have greater cell density and connectedness in the cerebellum, which can improve gait and balance and thus prevent falls.
MYTH: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m worried about falling. I don’t want to scare them. I want to keep my independence.
REALITY: Fall prevention is a team effort. Discuss it with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help. Enlist their support to help you maintain your mobility and
reduce your fall risks.
The bottom line is that falls are preventable. Learn more at the National Council on Aging website, www.ncoa.org. Search under “falls.”
Rhonda Zonoozi is an exercise physiologist/certified health coach from The Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, Ariz. For information, call 623-832-WELL (9355) or visit www.sunhealthwellbeing.org.
This information is provided by health professionals from the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. It should not be substituted for medical advice from your physician.
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