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Pillar 2

Avoid injuries and falls by retraining balance

Falls are the leading cause of injury related visits to emergency departments in the United States and the primary etiology of accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65. Risk factors for falls in the elderly include increasing age, medication use, cognitive impairment and sensory deficits. Certain exercises can prevent falls and fall related injuries. It is recommended that older adults with poor mobility should perform physical activity three or more days per week to enhance balance and prevent falls.

Balance becomes more and more important as we age

There are three body systems that control balance. The first is your eyes, the second is your inner ear, and the third is proprioception from your feet. All are critical but as we age, proprioception is the control mechanism that suffers the most and needs the most maintenance to continue functioning properly. We have sensors in our feet that use the nerves in our legs and spinal cord like a telephone wire to tell our brain what the surface we are standing on is like: flat, uneven, a hill, etc. Our brain uses this information to fire the muscles in our legs and core to keep us from falling over. As we age, those nerve sensors and pathways get slower and the communication can get a little mixed up.

Retraining your balance improves visual- spatial processing- the ability to perceive where objects are in space and their distance from each other. It increases overall attention levels and the ability to focus, improves your gait speed and agility!

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