Moving Your Body is one of the best ways to prevent falls.
Moving your body will improve your balance and posture, strengthen your muscles and bones and improve your overall fitness and general well being. Three hours of strength and balance activities is recommended each week, however you can split this up into much shorter blocks of activity.
Build Your Balance
Balance is the ability to stand, walk, and climb stairs, play sports or dance without falling over. It is a complex skill in which our body’s position is kept stable and controlled while we move and stay still.
Balance requires our body systems to work together to control movements. To stay balanced we need our brain to receive and respond to messages from our muscles, joints, skin, eyes and ears.
Building your balance is the best way to avoid a fall. Your body needs to be able to take in information from your surroundings and process it very quickly so that your body can react in order to control your movements.
View our Build Your Balance exercise video to learn about simple ways you can build your balance.
There are many activities that will improve your balance, as well as improving your coordination and muscle strength.
- Activities such as tai chi, tennis, fit ball, aerobics and lawn bowls which involve leaning forwards, backwards or to the side can help to build your balance.
- Exercises which build your balance include safely standing on one leg, walking in a straight line while stepping over objects, and walking heel to toe.
- Ask your physiotherapist or local recreation centre for more ideas or contact the Stay On Your Feet® team for more information about community activities.
A walking aid may be required to improve balance and provide stability and support.
Strengthen Your Legs
Muscles let our body use force when it needs to, such as when we are getting up from a chair or stopping ourselves from tripping over. Muscles, bones and joints start to deteriorate as we get older. Maintaining strong muscles, bones and joints in your legs will help you to reduce your risk of falling and maintain your movement and flexibility.
Doing physical activity will help to make your muscles and bones stronger and help you to stay strong, healthy and independent. Everyday movements such as gardening and cleaning can help to keep your muscles working and your body strong.
View our Strengthen Your Legs with Julie animation to learn about different ways you can strengthen your legs to prevent falls.
Everyday movements and actions, like gardening and cleaning, can help you to keep your muscles working and your body strong. Exercises such as standing up from your chair without using your hands are also great ways to strengthen your legs. When starting a new activity, it is best to start slow and not overdo it, so that your body gets used to the activity and you don't strain or injure yourself.
Make your leg muscles and bones stronger by exercising and doing activities using light weights at home or in the gym. You might like to try:
- Walking the dog
- Carrying weights
- Group fitness class such as Living Longer Living Stronger
Ask your physiotherapist, GP or local recreation centre for advice on suitable exercises for you.
Next find out how you can prevent falls by Improving Your Health.