With spring (finally) here, many of us are thinking about our gardens. And with our pretty petunias and marigolds come…weeds. And the worst part is, the more we leave them, the more they grow and wreak havoc on those pretty flowers.
In the medical world, falls are our weeds. In fact, if every weed represented a Canadian who suffered from a fall, we would have over 70,000 of them to deal with each year! These falls cost Canadians over $2 billion. Worse yet, these weeds have teeth. There are over 30,000 hip fractures resulting from falls each year, and out of these, 1 out of 3 of these patients will suffer a second fracture within the next year, and 1 in 2 patients will suffer another fracture within the next five years. And if this wasn’t enough, 28 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men will die from these hip fractures within the following year.
The good news is, like weeds pulled out of garden, falls can be pulled out of our lives. Research suggests regular balance training and lower body strengthening help to drastically reduce our risk of falls. Even better – exercise can act as a free, bulk-sized medical pill, helping you increase your bone strength, muscle strength, mood, memory, and, in general, your overall quality of life.
Dancing, floor curling and bowling are all great ways to help improve your balance in social settings. If you, like me, have two left feet and are feeling a little shy, you can also challenge your balance by standing on one leg, standing with your feet together, closing your eyes or standing tandem as if you were walking on a tight rope. Make sure you are standing next to a counter or stable object if you decide to try these at home!
Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors. We, at Alberta Health Services, take the issue very seriously and are working hard to develop programs in your area to help you minimize your chances of having a fall.
For more information about Falls Prevention programs in your area, contact us at Healthy Living Centre (Camrose) at 780-608-8687 or toll-free at the Daysland CRP office at 1-855-374-3981.
Submitted by Deanna Trzeciakowski, Kinesiologist, H.BSc, CSEP-CEP