As we grow older, the risk of developing osteoporosis and osteopenia increases greatly from a loss of bone density, increasing the risk of suffering from a substantial fall.
To help prevent the loss of bone density, doctors promote the engagement in exercise, often in the form of cardio or strength training. These types of exercises have been shown to decrease the risk of having a fall by building both muscle size and strength. However, new research has shown that strengthening muscle power is actually the most effective way to prevent falls. Muscle power is one of the first fitness traits to decrease with age, and accounts for the body’s ability to produce fast and intense actions, making it an extremely important aspect of balance, mobility and reaction time, all of which are vital in preventing falls.
The most effective way of developing muscle power is through explosive power training, which involves generating a quick action while exerting a high level of intensity and effort, and as a result, builds neuromuscular strength, as well as bone density. Many mundane everyday tasks involve muscle power, such as sitting on a chair, climbing stairs, walking, and jumping.
New research conducted by Professor Daniel Delavy of Deakin University discovered that the explosive power exerted by jumping is close related to improving posture, stability and balance, and hence, lowers the probability of having a fall. Professor Delavy encourages everyone, particularly older people, engage in some form of exercise, but strongly promotes explosive power training guided by a professional.
Not only is this information extremely useful for people over the age of 65 for helping decrease the chance of having a fall, but is also beneficial for younger people. By engaging in explosive power training, the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life is significantly reduced, and improves current bone and muscle health.
When considering whether you should begin resistance training or engage in exercise, it is important that the program you select is designed to suit you specific individual needs, and takes in your personal factors, such as your age, health, and previous exercise experience. If you are unsure about where to begin, it is vital that you consult a qualified person, such as an exercise physiologist, to find the program best suited to you, and to prevent any injuries whilst exercising. As well as this, it is advised that you seek approval from your doctor before undergoing any form of exercise, especially if it has been a longer period of time since you have exercised, or you have a chronic illness.
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