balance training

Balance Training

Balance training has been shown to be an important and effective part of falls prevention. Your physical therapist will design exercises that challenge your ability to keep your balance, including such exercises as single-leg standing.

Walking and Moving

When people walk very slowly or are unsteady, they are at risk of falling. Your physical therapist can improve your walking ability by having you do such activities as:

  • Dance steps
  • Walking in circles
  • “Figure 8” exercises to strengthen the core abdominal muscles that help stabilize your body
  • Obstacle courses

Doing More Than One Thing at the Same Time—Safely

Older adults who have difficulty walking and talking at the same time are at a higher risk of falling. To help increase your safety during daily activities, your physical therapist can design a “dual-task” training program. This kind of training will challenge you to maintain walking speed while you do another task, such as counting backwards, engaging in a conversation, or carrying a bag of groceries.

Strength Training

Strengthening exercises are a key element of fall prevention when they are done in conjunction with balance training. Your physical therapist will design strengthening exercises that focus on your leg and the muscles used in maintaining posture.

Aerobic Training

Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity and long duration; it can help improve almost every aspect of your health. Walking is one of the safest forms of aerobic exercise, no matter what kind of problem you have. Once you have begun your strengthening and balance program, your physical therapist will know when you’re ready to start aerobic exercise. Depending on your ability, the therapist might have you do three 30-minute walking sessions each week.

Education

Your physical therapist will take the time to explain to you how to best manage your own risks for falling. Your therapist also may talk to you about the best activities for you to do to maintain your quality of life.

Fear Management

It will be important for you to talk with your physical therapist about any fear of falling that you have. Your therapist will work with you to determine whether there are activities you should avoid. Your therapist also will work with you to determine whether your fear may be unfounded and whether there are activities that you should be doing to keep strong and help your balance.

Community Programs

Several fall prevention programs are being promoted by the Injury Prevention and Control Center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Administration on Aging. These programs help people:

  • Reduce their fear of falling
  • Set goals for increasing their physical activity
  • Make their homes more safe
  • Do more exercise to increase strength and balance

These programs often are led by volunteer coaches. Your physical therapist may be involved in setting up one or these programs and can help you find programs in your area that would be best for you.

For more information, Contact us today at Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach, FL Centers.