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Stay on the safe side: Easy exercises to improve balance and prevent falls

Staying active and healthy is an important part of everyday life in retirement. And, now that you’ve got all that free time to enjoy, what better way to spend it than by getting exercise and stretching those restless limbs?

As important as keeping healthy is, though, it can be a challenge to move sufficiently when arthritis or mobility issues complicate workouts. However, taking part in any type of exercise, for any amount of time, will have positive effects on the body and mind—something important to consider, given June is National Safety Month.

Falls and injuries due to inactivity or simple slips are among the greatest risks you can face living at home or in a retirement community, and can occur even after precautions have been taken and additional safety equipment has been installed (like hallway bar grips). Learning exercises that can help improve balance and strengthen joints and muscles should be at the top of every senior’s to-do list in June, as should learning about personal safety. Here’s what you can do to join in:

Focus on your legs

Working up your leg muscles is one of the best defenses against a potential fall that you can pursue. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to work strenuously, or really even break a sweat, as overexertion has big risks of its own. All that’s needed is regular toning to shape your legs up, and then frequent, light exercise to keep your lower limbs active and in their best condition possible. Some exercises to start with include:

Strrrrrretch it out

As important as the actual exercise itself is, so is the stretching that you should be doing both before and after. Stretching is crucial in warming up your ligaments, tendons and joints so you don’t injure yourself while exercising, or when cooling down afterward. If it’s been a tough day already, and you’re not up for a full workout, stretching can even serve as an substitute for exercise in a pinch—so long as you’re getting some kind of activity in. Areas of your body to stretch include your:

Use the CDC’s fall prevention checklist

While not an exercise per se, making the most out of National Safety Month wouldn’t be complete without consulting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s checklist for preventing falls at home. Some action items to cross off this list include:

While falls may present a big risk, there is much within your control to prevent them; and staying active is near the top of that list. Try to build up your motivation and practice some of the exercises outlined above, and if you want to know more about what a retirement community can do to help decrease risk further, contact us today!