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Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. In fact, the National Council on Aging reports that one-quarter of Americans aged 65+ falls each year, resulting in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments, more than 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths. These statistics are more than enough reason for you to encourage your loved ones to regularly practice exercises for fall prevention. Here are some easy exercises that your loved one can do at home.

The key to preventing falls are balance and strength, try these exercises that improve balance and lower body strength. Do these exercises two days a week, but not two days in a row. Begin by holding onto a chair, with only one hand, they progress to holding onto the chair with one finger, then no hands. Once your loved one is steady while standing, encourage him or her to try the exercises with eyes closed.

1. Stand on one foot

  • Stand on one foot for 30 seconds.
  • Hold position for up to 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times with other leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 more times with each leg.

2. Walk heel to toe

  • Position the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. The heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
  • Choose a spot just ahead and focus on it to remain steady while walking.
  • Take a step. Put the heel just in front of the toe of the other foot.
  • Repeat for 20 steps

3. Back leg raises

  • Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
  • Breathe out and slowly lift one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Try not to lean forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
  • Hold position for 1 second.
  • Breathe in as you slowly lower your leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times with other leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 more times with each leg.

4. Side leg raises

  • Stand behind a sturdy chair with feet slightly apart, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
  • Breathe out and slowly lift one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
  • Hold position for 1 second.
  • Breathe in as you slowly lower your leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times with other leg.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 more times with each leg.

5. Chair squats

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Lean the trunk forward and reach the arms out in front of the torso.
  • Push through the heels and rise to a standing position.
  • Do three sets of 8–15 repetitions

Exercises for fall prevention are effective and can also be fun. Moving increases the flow of oxygen to the body and the brain and can improve mood as well as balance and strength. Getting your loved one moving is one way to prevent falls, there are many others including lighting, and fall prevention home improvements inside and outside.

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