Updated: Nov 24, 2021
As we age, falls are a major concern. Adults 65 years of age and older are at the highest risk. Falls are the second leading cause of death worldwide, after road traffic injuries.
As we age, we naturally lose strength. Muscle mass decreases after the age of 30. As muscle fibers shrink, fat gradually replaces some of the muscle. When this aging process occurs, muscles have less ability to function and contract. Over time, they lose strength, making leg weakness one of the biggest causes of falls. Muscles adapt to the stresses placed upon them, we need to look at our jobs, our hobbies and activities we participate in and think about how many hours we spend sitting relative to the hours we spend walking, standing or indeed exercise.
The good news is that falls are preventable and as a Pilates and Yoga instructor I know YOU can do a great deal to help to prevent falls. Pilates Mat and Yoga are a great way to improve balance and build strength as both work on leg and glute strength. Pilates Reformer exercises offer endless opportunities for improving strength and increasing bone density and muscle strength by working with resistance. Beyond the natural loss of strength during the aging process, sedentary lifestyles, nutrient deficient diets, loss of balance and vision, and environmental factors play a role in causing falls in older adults. I LOVE working with the older population, not just to hear their wise advice and stories, BUT I see how their
daily life and functionality improves by doing both Pilates and Yoga. I have several clients that do both and on the Reformer and the mat. One of the most serious injuries that results from a fall is a broken hip. Broken hips lead to a loss of independence and in some cases death (but it isn’t all doom and gloom as you can help to prevent the degeneration of muscle mass with exercise). Leg strength and balance are the most important skills to work on and in all my classes we work in standing for approx ⅓ of the class. Building balance and strength. Falls maybe very common, but they do not have to be a normal part of the aging process. We can start early and get ahead of the statistics by bringing more awareness to the importance of weight-bearing exercises. The majority of my clients are middle age ladies or older women. YES I need more men - Pilates and Yoga are for men too. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men because of menopause and need to be taking care of their bones. Fall prevention has three key factors: improving balance, building balanced leg strength, and most importantly, building confidence. As a side benefit, doing Pilates workouts structured around all this in mind will also increase leg and glute tone. And who doesn’t want that?
As always I am always open for a text message, email or DM for questions. Thanks for reading.
Pilates and Yoga Teacher, Andover Hampshire
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