Fall Prevention-Keep An Eye On Falls

Fall PreventionIs your vision putting you at risk for a deadly fall? The answer may surprise you. Falls are a leading cause of death in older adults.

Do you really want to go out with that kind of a bang? Not being able to distinguish, or maybe just being less likely to notice a hazard that causes a fall, is a problem that sneaks up on you.

 The quality of our vision diminishes with age slowly, and often goes unnoticed; or we may just rationalize symptoms away.

Starting at around 40 the lenses in our eyes become less elastic making it hard to focus up close. We eventually admit it and fix the problem with reading glasses. But that’s just the beginning. By around 50 we may think there’s not enough light in a room, or daylight conditions are immediately too bright when we go outside. In fact our pupils have gotten smaller, and our ability to adjust to changing light has slowed with age. So we require more light indoors, and transitions from dim to bright conditions become more difficult. We don’t usually think of aging eyesight as the cause. It’s easy to shrug off.

As we get older and contrast perception diminishes, making it harder to perceive stairs, curbs and other dangers, we blame shadows or glare. And worsening vision throws off our balance and proprioception (knowing where our bodies are in space). Combine imperfect vision with age related orthopedic issues and we’re set up for a life altering or life-ending event.

Most of the time, the vision problem is easily corrected with a visit to an ophthalmologist and prescription for glasses. And if you do have a more serious issue, it can be detected and treated before vision loss occurs or gets worse. But remember, it sneaks up on you. So get a checkup even if you don’t think you need one.

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Fall Prevention Exercises

Fall PreventionFall Prevention Exercises!

May is osteoporosis month and I can’t say enough about this debilitating yet largely preventable bone disease.

By definition, osteoporosis is a disease that, over time, causes bones to become thinner, more porous and less able to support the body. Bones can become so thin that they break during normal, everyday activity.
I’ve written a number of articles about the importance of weight bearing exercise and a calcium and vitamin D rich diet in preventing osteoporosis. So today I’m focusing on FALL PREVENTION. So many osteoporotic fractures are caused by falls so anything that can prevent those falls should be on your radar.

An interesting fall prevention method that’s been getting a lot of attention lately is using a Whole Body Vibration platform. Research by the Russian and American space programs has long suggested that a piezo-electric effect caused by vibrating the body strengthens muscles, and may prevent bone loss. A recent German study ‘Erlangen Longitudinal Vibration Study (ELVIS) shows it can also greatly reduce falls.

You simply stand on the vibrating plate and shake for several minutes. How long and how vigorously you shake can be dialed to suit your personal body needs and fitness level.

Commercial versions of the vibration platform are available at gyms and rehab centers. Home versions are sold online and at sporting goods and health equipment stores. Prices for the home versions start at about $199.

And for traditionalist in all of us, it’s true, simple balance exercises can go a long way towards reducing your chances of taking a serious fall.

Fall Prevention Exercises Try this simple exercise:

  • Stand erect near a wall (in case you lose your balance) hands at your sides.
  • Slowly raise one foot a couple of inches off the ground while shifting your weight to your grounded foot.
  • When you’ve got your balance slowly raise your arms over your head and reach for the sky.

As you get more comfortable, try raising your held-up foot farther up until it’s near the knee of your grounded leg.

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Orthopedic Injuries: Prehab To Avoid Rehab

ORTHOPEDIC-INJURIES_web-4-iOrthopedic Injuries. Here’s one of mine. This picture is real. It was taken by my husband a few years ago.  That’s me unable to lower my arm without passing out. I’m on the phone with my orthopedist. Orthopedic Injuries are a real drag. This one took me 3 months to rehab.

Nobody wants to grow old, least of all boomers. But we’re turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day, and will be for the next 17 years.

We’re running a little scared. We want longevity, but we’re scared of losing our mobility and independence. So we’re trying to stay active, or get active, in order to avoid decrepitude. With that many older bodies on the move, orthopedic injuries are on the rise. Once you’re injured, there’s excellent treatment and rehab available

But there is a lot you can do to prevent orthopedic injuries.
If you want to stay active and mobile in the second half of your life, consider prehab today to avoid rehab tomorrow. Here’s a quick video to tell you more:

Who gets up in the morning thinking: I feel like getting a nice orthopedic injury today. What can I do to help that along? But we have them anyway, even if we’re disease free. We over use our bodies or use them wrong. We break hips and legs. We get strains and sprains. We get hurt at work, at home or playing sports.

Vintage Bodies Prone For Orthopedic Injuries 

No matter how active we’ve been, our bodies are not the same as they were when we were younger. They’ve got miles on them. And like vintage cars, it’s not wise to drive them flat out. Those of us, who’ve used our bodies for a living, know we’ve had to make adjustments for our aging muscles and joints. Many of us are favoring old injuries that have left those body parts weakened and vulnerable.

We may be nursing over use injuries from repetitive actions. These can be anything from back problems from years of standing all day, to shoulder issues from years of manual labor, to carpal tunnel syndrome from constant mouse pushing. But it doesn’t have to take years. Raking leaves, shoveling snow or playing tennis all weekend when you’re out of shape can be an express ticket to Overuse Ville. And being overweight puts extra stress on your musculoskeletal system. But, there’s a simple fix that can reduce your risk for orthopedic injuries, give you more energy, stamina and even help you live longer

Prehab to Avoid Orthopedic Injuries

Two Types of Prehab

There are two main types: general and sport-specific.

General Prehab for Daily Life

Every day, we run for the bus or the phone, load groceries in the car, pick up children or pets and a million other things we take for granted. These all carry a risk for injury and I’ll bet we can all remember being injured doing them. Luckily for most of us the, injuries were limited to a little pull or sprain. But people do fall and break bones, dislocate limbs, have heart attacks and worse because they’re not fit enough for that activity at that moment. Being inactive and overweight adds to the mix. A simple fitness and weight management program may be all you need to help prevent orthopedic injuries during everyday activities.

General rehab for daily living as part of a personal wellness program: looks at the body as a whole, and develops it as a whole to maximize quality of life. This often includes strength training, cardio conditioning and core training, as well as some proprioceptive exercises.

Avoid Orthopedic Injuries with Fall Prevention

Falls are the number one cause of injury death in people over 65. One in three people 65 plus will experience a fall each year. And poor proprioception, not knowing where your body is in space is a leading cause of falls. Proprioception degrades with age but proprioceptive exercise can slow that down and help prevent falls. Add exercises like Tai Chi, and balancing exercises to your fitness routine. They feel great to do and can help keep you vertical into old age.

Sport-Specific Prehab is designed to get you ready for the rigors of a particular sport or physical endeavor. Good activity specific exercises pay special attention to the body parts most involved in that activity or sport with regard to use and form without ignoring the concept of training the body as a whole. Sport specific training is available at many gyms and community centers.

So I hope you’ve become a believer in the little proverb I’ve coined to remind my clients “An ounce of prehab is worth a pound of rehab.”

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It’s Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashIt’s Fashion Flash Monday! Our host this week is top anti-aging expert, Jackie from Agingbackwards.com  She will help you stay vital, beautiful and healthy naturally.

Her book How To Think Yourself Slim, Healthy, & Young is a must read and full of easy to do tips to help you stay fabulous.

The rest of us Fashion Flash blogger have an eclectic mix of the latest in fashion, beauty, fitness and anti aging. Check us out and let us know what you think!

More email questions coming. Here’s one that I get quite often from women who are afraid of falling?

Q: What exercises one should do to improve sense of balance?

Balance_Web_6755A: Serious balance issues require medical attention. However some loss of balance is quite common as we age. Signals from vision, bones, and joints, the vestibular system in the inner ear, and the nervouse system, are sent to the brain which interprets them into an awareness of the position of their body. This is our proprioceptive sense and one of its functions is balance.

Trouble is, the systems collecting the information controlling balance begin to deteriorate with age, particularly if we’ve been inactive. And this process accelerates after 50.

But exercises involving proprioception and balance can help slow down our aging clock. Here’s one you can do at home.

Stand with your feet together. Slowly pick up one leg, bending the knee, and place the side of your foot against your opposite calf or knee. Holding on to a chair or wall, find your balance. When you feel ready, let go and slowly bring your arms up in front of your chest. Hold for about 10 seconds (or as long as you can). When it get’s too easy, try doing it with your eyes closed.

For more women health and fitness information and at home exercise programs for women visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 

 

 

 

 

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