–According to the CDC, one out of three people 65 and older falls each year and 20% to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. So, if you are over 65, that is important. What if you are younger? Well, then the interest may be athletics or good brain function. We are learning that they are all related.
For the older folks:
-Preventing falls can prevent broken hips and help you stay independent.
-Evaluating your balance is important, because there is a direct relationship between balance test abnormalities and falls.
-Also, poor balance has been shown to increase how long people stay in the hospital and they can predict how well (or poorly)l the rehabilitation will go.
Just being careful and even walking exer. may not prevent you from falling.
But you can reduce your chances of falling by doing strength and balance exercises as little as 3 times a week. WE will show you some of these in the upcoming posts.
For the Athlete: Mastering this unconscious behavior is critical to freeing your brain to focusing on outwitting and outmaneuvering your opponents. The tests we link to on this page may not be too difficult for the athlete, but challenge yourself. Do the test, and see if you can improve.
- Falls can predict cognitive decline. That means your brain will stop working to help you remember and do things that used to be obvious and automatic almost. Those that fell more than one time in the last 12 months were much more likely(about 30%) to have significant cognitive decline in the next 12 months. (Original article here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0093673)
Wow! That’s scary. What can you do? Well, It’s never too late to make improvements, but I sure don’t want to wait until I have that history of falls and the brain damage already starting before I try to reverse it.
So, let’s start out with some tests to see where you stand…or how you balance. This will help predict your future falls. There, that’s better. Let’s predict falls and prevent them by improving health. This should, in turn, prevent falls and prevent brain decline. All the research isn’t there for the whole process, but what can it hurt. Your alternative is to wait for the new drug many pharmaceutical companies are trying to develop to make your brain work better.
Try these tests:
Test for Balance: (Videos for all 3 are also available at: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/Falls/steadi/videos.html#TUG
Here are the links to the handouts to fill your results.
- TUG test: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pdf/steadi/timed_up_and_go_test.pdf
- 4-Stage Balance test: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pdf/steadi/4_stage_balance_test.pdf
- 30-Second Chair Stand Test: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pdf/steadi/30_second_chair_stand_test.pdf
Coming up soon, we will share some exercises to improve balance and strength.