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Standing up to falls with Keep on your Feet

Friday, September 1, 2017

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Statistics tell us that people over 65 years have a 1 in 3 chance of falling and those over 80 years have a 1 in 2 chance of falling – but falls don’t have to be a natural part of the ageing process, says Sport Bay of Plenty’s Jen Riley.

“Staying injury free and living independently is vitally important to older people, and their families,” says Jen. “Maintaining your strength and balance is one way you can be proactive about making sure this happens.

“Strength is considered one of the most important factors for health-related fitness, general function (i.e. climbing stairs and getting out of chairs) and the maintenance of independence.

“Balance plays a very important role in everyday activities and is often taken for granted – better balance often results in improved movement confidence and a decreased fear of falling.”

Research shows that older people with muscle weakness, balance issues or mobility limitations are three to five times more likely to fall in any one year than those without these problems. There is also evidence that community group strength and balance classes can reduce falls by 29%.

To help you with this, Sport Bay of Plenty has recently started Keep on your Feet, a programme which involves co-ordinating the provision of community based strength and balance classes in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“It all comes down to ‘use it or lose it’,” explains Jen, the project leader.

“The classes that Sport Bay of Plenty plans to co-ordinate will involve simple, but effective, exercises that will improve leg strength and also challenge participants’ balance in a fun, social and safe environment.”

Keep on your Feet is part of a nation-wide ACC initiative to reduce falls and fractures and support older adults to ‘live stronger for longer’.

If you, or someone you know, has trouble getting out of a chair without using their hands or struggles to stand on one leg, and could benefit from a strength and balance class, click here to learn more about our Keep on your Feet project.

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