Unfortunately it's all too common for people to take drastic falls as they get into their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Breaking a hip is a potentially disastrous thing to have happen to you.
You've likely heard that the way to prevent breaking a hip is by increasing your bone density. Yes, partially true, but there's something that can help more. I'd like to offer a one alternative way of approaching this that might be helpful to you.
I can summarize it in one sentence:
If you don't fall, you don't break your hip.
I believe fall prevention is a much better goal than trying to make your bones more dense. Bone density happens automatically with resistance training, because bones respond to load bearing exercises just like muscles do.
But the focus of this blog post is fall prevention.
When you think of the word balance, what comes to mind? Is it something similar to balancing on 1 foot? Or balancing on a tight rope? This is how most people view balance. But when I think about balance, I think about muscle balance. What's the difference?
When I use the term muscle balance, what I mean by that is the relative strength and flexibility of every muscle in your body. Every muscle is designed to contract a certain amount and stretch a certain amount. Your body's ability to do both is a key to fall prevention.
Re-read the last paragraph. Although it's an oversimplification, it makes the point.
Here is the next most important concept. Each muscle in your body has an opposite, for example the bicep and the tricep are opposite muscles. In order for your body to be balanced, each of these muscle groups need to be balanced.
This is great news, because you can control a muscle.
So when the muscles are balanced, each joint position is balanced, and you are able to maintain that balance throughout your walking, sitting, and standing. Thus, you are less likely to fall.
Next we want to talk about exercises that will improve your balance and help you prevent a fall. The specific workout program that I recommend starting with will begin with you on your back, and systematically progress you toward a standing position.
Start with these exercises, and do them every day for several weeks.
This is an overall balanced strength program for you to begin ASAP!
90-90 Knee Pillow Squeezes
Prone Arm Raises
After some time, you will notice that your muscles feel more balanced. This is a great thing to have happened, because with muscle balance comes more control, and with more control comes a reduce likelihood of falling.
Of course there are other things you want to keep in mind, such as building bone density and improving your proprioception (which is a fancy way of saying your body's ability to know where it is in space).
Points of contact are also needed in order to aid with balance. When you are walking you only have two points of contact, your feet. And there are brief moments where you only have one point of contact when you lift up 1 foot. Whenever possible, use your hand to brace on and immovable object.
This program is very introductory, and I can definitely talk more about this. I find that it helps to answer any specific questions that you might have at this point. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with those specific questions. I hope this post helped you with your balance concerns.