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Better balance this April Falls Month

06 Apr 2022

 

Older Australians in the Nepean Blue Mountains district are being encouraged to get physically active as part of April Falls Month, to help maintain their strength and independence.

Better Balance for Fall Prevention is the theme of this year’s April Falls Day, an annual event supported by the NSW Fall Prevention and Health Ageing Network to encourage older adults to become more active and reduce falls.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many older people may have become less active and seen a decline in their fitness level due to an inability to participate in regular social and fitness groups.

For optimal physical and mental health, experts recommend that all adults, regardless of age, health, or ability, do 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most days.

To prevent falls and maintain independence, exercise or activities that improve strength and balance should be included. Every bit of activity helps.

NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network Lead Advisor, Professor Cathie Sherrington, said staying physically active is the single most important thing we can do to stay independent as we age.

“During ageing, our bodies lose muscle strength and coordination, so the more active we remain, the better chance we have of maintaining our physical function,” Professor Sherrington said.

“Improving strength and balance in our legs allows us to complete regular daily activities more easily, including getting up and down stairs, in and out of cars, negotiating uneven surfaces and reducing the risk of falling.

“Older people benefit from regular tai chi, group exercise programs, gym sessions, community-based falls prevention programs such as Stepping On, or simple exercises at home to improve muscle strength and balance.

“Research has also shown that regular exercise can reduce falls in older people by 23 per cent, but slowly building up high-challenge balance exercises can increase the effects of exercise by up to 40 per cent.”

 

The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) has collaborated with the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network to produce a range of April Falls resources for patients, families, carers and health staff. https://fallsnetwork.neura.edu.au/aprilfalls/