Balance issues and falls are very common as one age and can really hinder one’s quality of life and can potentially lead to some more serious health risks. 1 in every 4 Americans over the age of 65 will suffer a fall within the next year. Even worse, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging but not enough older adults are incorporating balance training into their exercise routine. Strength training and cardiovascular exercise are essential to living a healthy lifestyle but so is balance training. This form of exercise is very different than going to the gym or a long walk to strengthen your legs.
What is balance training?
Balance training focuses on improving the speed at which your muscles turn on/off when exposed to uneven surfaces like a hill or Chicago sidewalk. It also focuses on improving the functioning of your vestibular system and proprioception. This type of training allows the brain to better understand where your body is positioned in space relative to its surroundings so you can move around in different environments without feeling dizzy or feeling fearful or falling.
How can physical therapy help?
Specialized physical therapy focusing on your balance and improving the functioning of your vestibular system can significantly reduce your fall risk. All our therapists at React Physical Therapy are trained to identify individuals who are a fall risk and create evidence-based fall prevention programs. I’m located at our Lakeshore East location and I specialize in vestibular therapy and works with individuals who have dizziness/vertigo or more complicated balance issues. So if you are getting more unsteady as you age or have a parent/grandparent who is, React is here to help you or a loved one live a more active and safe lifestyle.