Savers are surely aware that falling is a major cause of fractures, particularly in older people. But what may come as a surprise is the primary cause of seniors’ falls, a topic that until now, has been largely unexplored.
When scientists studied the context and details involved in seniors’ falls, they discovered that there is far more at work than simply loss of balance.
This weekend, I’m excited to share the details of this study with you, and show you how to perform an exercise that directly addresses the real cause behind falls, which we’re going to look at next.
Anatomy Of A Fall
When you think of an elderly person falling, chances are you envision them tripping over something, slipping, missing a stair step, or simply losing their balance while moving. While all of those scenarios can certainly result in a fall, the primary reason most elderly adults take a tumble is incorrect weight shifting.
Weight shifting refers to moving from one position to another, such as side-stepping or leaning in any direction. And for seniors, this can throw them off balance and lead to a fall.
Researchers learned this by observing 277 falls in a long-term care facility over the course of three years (2007 – 2010). Strategically-placed video cameras recorded the falls, which were then analyzed by the scientists. The way in which the seniors moved from one position to the other – weight shifting – proved to be the number-one cause of falls.1
Quoting from the study:
“Compared with previous reports from the long-term care setting, we identified a higher occurrence of falls during standing and transferring, a lower occurrence during walking, and a larger proportion due to centre-of-mass perturbations than base-of-support perturbations.”1
Thus, “centre-of-mass perturbations” – in other words, moving the body from one area to another – is more of a danger than changes in base support, as in the case of slipping.
Why, then, does weight shifting pose such a challenge for seniors?
From the study, we can extrapolate that lack of coordination and muscle tone play into ineffective weight shifting. Fortunately, weight shifting exercises can counteract this problem, and the Standing Leg, Hip And Shoulder Builder strengthens the bones and muscles you need when shifting your center of gravity.
Once you’re used to this exercise and your balance has improved, you can make it more challenging by using a couple of small weights, one to three pounds (feel free to use water bottles or cans of food). At the beginning, though, it’s best to work without weights and exercise near a bed or chair so you have something to catch onto if you fall.
- Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height.
- Bring your left leg out to the side while bending your right knee to go down into a one-legged squat.
- Straighten your right knee to stand up again, bringing your left leg in toward the middle and up, bending your left knee to approximately hip height.
- Bring your left leg back out again and repeat these moves as one motion, six to 10 times.
- Switch legs and repeat six to 10 more reps.
No Special Equipment Required!
If you have the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System or you’ve been following the Weekend Challenges, then you are familiar with the Save Institute’s commitment to exercises that do not require a lot of space or specialized equipment. This makes stimulating new bone growth through targeted exercise accessible to anyone seeking to naturally rejuvenate their bones.
Densercise™ helps make this possible, with all 52 + moves requiring minimal space and simple (if any) equipment, such as towels, water bottles, or other common household items. Building bones through exercise and nutrition need not be complicated!
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Let us know your thoughts on this weekend’s challenge, and what you’re doing to improve your balance and prevent falls by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!
1 Robinovich, Stephen N., et al. “Video capture of the circumstances of falls in elderly people residing in long-term care: an observational study.” The Lancet. 381. 9860. (2013): 47-54. Web. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61263-X/fulltext