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How can older adults improve their balance and reduce falls?

Improving balance to reduce the risk of falling will require a training program that not only includes exercises that test stability but that also targets your core musculature. Older adults do not typically have good core stability. Your core is your center of gravity. Balance training should test your limits of stability without losing control of your center of gravity (your core). Having a strong core is important for older adults, can help improve balance and reduce your risk for injury.

The muscles of the core are divided into two categories; the stabilizing system and the movement system. The stabilizers are responsible for the stability of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. The stabilizers should be trained before training the movement system. You need to be able to stabilize in order to move correctly. If the movement system is strong and the stabilizers are weak we put ourselves at risk for injury.

Older adults should have their risk of fall assessed by a professional and then have a program developed to decrease that risk, if one exists. If the risk is minimal the older adult should engage in a training program that progresses as their ability progresses adding reactive training necessary for balance recovery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.