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Stay Active, Stay Independent, Stay on Your Feet!

Patrick Nowak RN, BScN

There's still lots of summer left, so it's a good time to get active. As we age, our bodies change in ways that can increase the risk of a fall. The best way to reduce your risk of falling is to be physically active, so you can stay independent and stay on your feet. Including physical activity also reduces blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease, and maintains bone density.

Most importantly, it helps to keep you mobile and independent. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology states that adults aged 65 and older should work to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise every week. All older adults, including those with poor mobility, should perform physical activities to enhance balance and prevent falls. Be sure to choose an activity you enjoy so you’ll stick to it!

Choose activities that increase muscle strength, especially in the legs. Be sure to do something that also improves your balance, posture and stamina. Here are some examples of activities that can help:

  • Strength training and fitness classes such as aerobics or aquafit
  • Pole walking or joining a walking group
  • Gardening and housework, washing the car or walking the dog
  • Activities that focus on balance such as tai chi, yoga or Pilates
  • Sporting activities such as: Swimming, cycling, dancing, golfing, tennis or bowling
  • If the weather is bad, you can exercise indoors with a web-based class like From Soup to Tomatoes!

Even if you have health problems, you can still be active. Talk to your health care provider if you feel you are limiting your activity because you are afraid of falling. Being active can increase your quality of life and independence. Talk to your health care provider if something does not feel right when you start exercising. We want all older adults to stay active, stay independent, and stay on their feet. There are many community resources and programs that can help you or a loved one reduce their risk of falling. If you are unsure of whether you or a loved one is at risk, contact the health unit to obtain more information. For more information on how to prevent falls, contact me at the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 ext. 2369.