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Why Does Our Risk of Falling Increase As We Age?

Holding handsAs many of our family members begin aging, it’s hard not to notice they might be a little weaker or walk a bit slower. That leads to the question, how do I keep them safe from falls?

Three Factors To Consider

Dr. Dan and Dr. Pascal, your Winnipeg chiropractors, discuss three factors to consider in preventing falls.

1. Postural breakdown and how it affects balance over time.
2. Inactivity-if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Inactivity can lead to a loss of balance and proprioception which can lead to falls.
3. A reduction in overall strength for people who aren’t strength training.

How The Body Balances

Balance is kept via three things in our body—our vision, our vestibular apparatus (think little crystals or tubes in your ear), and proprioception. Proprioceptors are little joints all over your body that help it understand where it is in space.

If those joints are stuck or not moving, they lose the ability to send information, so your brain doesn’t have the information to decide what needs to be done.

Preventing Falls

Disrupted position, also known as bad posture, often occurs when we’re not doing enough exercises, sitting at the computer too long, or even using a cell phone. The body starts to round and shift forward or to the side, and the head moves forward.

The further we get away from an ideal normal position, the harder it becomes for those joints to communicate with your brain regarding the outside world. Your balance changes because the proprioceptors are damaged. Even a small shift in position may be enough to lose balance and fall.

Movement is an important part of balance. Working on side-to-side movements, balancing on your toes, or standing on an unstable platform are ways to introduce movement into your body, and challenge your balance on a daily basis.

As we age, we lose muscle mass, increasing the risk of injuries and fractures. Maintaining strength is important, because building mass is more difficult as we grow older.

Lean muscle mass not only helps our independence, but also prevents fractures and complications from falls.

Making a consistent effort, little by little, day after day, will show some improvement whatever age you are. Things like walking, stretching, or signing up for an exercise class at the local YMCA will all help you increase your strength and stability.

Learn More Today

If you’re concerned about your balance, and want to know your fall risk, we have the software here in the office. With our balance platform, it takes just two minutes to test you and print out a PDF with the results. After testing, we’ll work on any concerns, and then retest to follow your improvement.

Contact us to learn more.

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