Falls prevention: Exercises and advice to prevent falls

Falls Awareness Week
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:11 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Wednesday is the first day of autumn and it coincides with National Falls Prevention Awareness Week.

The goal behind the week is to educate people and reduce the number of people injured by falls. While many think falling is a normal part of aging, Vidant Health Physical Therapist Glen Newman says it’s not.

“Many people except that as being part of the aging process, but we want to let people know, that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Newman.

Falls can have long term health impacts, including hip fractures, head traumas that reduce mobility and independence and it can even increase the risk of premature death. Newman says there are several modifiable risk factors, including lower body weakness, taking four or more medications or any psychoactive medications that could lead to dizziness, eye problems and poor lighting and hazards, like a throw rug, in the home.

Experts suggests improving your cardiovascular fitness by taking walks, biking or swimming to reduce your chances of falling. Newman says you should also work on balance building, like standing on one foot, standing up from a chair without using your hands or arms and even walking heel-to-toe.

Newman says as many people have been working from home throughout the pandemic, they’ve become more sedentary.

“Instead of driving to the grocery store and walking across the parking lot, people are having their food delivered and they’re not leaving their house. They are not going to get as much physical activity and that will have a negative impact on their health and fitness because they will be more prone to falls,” said Newman.

If you have questions, you can contact your primary care physician or have an assessment done by a physical therapist to prevent injuries from falls.

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