Every year, roughly 200 000 Australians are hospitalised as a result of a fall. But what if there was a way to reduce your chance of falling? Luckily, there is! The solution is exercise – the activity that so many people dread.
However, exercise is extremely effective at improving your general health. Exercise can help prevent some diseases that are our leading causes of death in Australia. These diseases include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. In fact, frequent exercise can help reduce your risk of developing diseases, and even death, after a fall.
Cardio and strength training are both very effective at protecting individuals against falls. A recent study found that power training can be even more beneficial than both cardio and strength training. However, power is the first fitness trait to decrease with age. This may impact the older populations ability to complete daily tasks, like climbing a flight of stairs or lifting heavy items.
Although reduced muscle strength and instability are linked to falling more frequently, losing muscle power results in even more falls.
But what is the difference between strength and power?
Strength is the amount of force a muscle can exert against resistance in one single effort. Power is the amount of force a muscle can exert against resistance in the shortest amount of time.
Deakin University Associate Professor, Daniel Belavy, states that explosive power training is particularly important for the older population. Power training is effective at improving physical function, and strength training is effective at preventing muscle wastage and improving balance.
It is recommended that people over 65 do 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. If you can’t reach this, that’s okay. Even small amounts of physical activity can drastically improve your health and reduce your chance of falling. When exercising, ensure you warm-up and stretch beforehand, and cool-down and stretch after.
There is a wide range of exercises you could participate in. These include walking, swimming, or yoga. Specific power-focused exercises include exercises like jumping. When exercising, ensure you are doing so on a flat surface with assistance near-by if an injury occurs.
If you haven’t exercised recently, start exercising at a level that is comfortable for you. If you have any health conditions, ensure that you consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous physical activity.
At APERS, we understand that keeping your loved ones safe is the most important thing in the world.
For more information about our personal medical alarms, please call 1300 852 148 or send us a message via our website.