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Exercises to help prevent falls

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If you have a medical problem or you are an older adult, you may be at risk of falling or tripping. This can result in broken bones or even more serious injuries.

Exercising can help prevent falls because it can:

You can do the following exercises anytime and almost anywhere. As you get stronger, try to hold each position longer or add light weights to your ankles. This will increase how effective the exercise is.

Try to exercise 150 minutes a week. Perform muscle strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week. Start off slowly and check with your health care provider to make sure you are doing the right type of exercises for you. You may want to exercise on your own or join a group.

When you exercise, always make sure you breathe slowly and easily. DO NOT hold your breath.

Balance Exercises

You can do some balance exercises during everyday activities.

Toe Stand

To make your calves and ankle muscles stronger:

Knee Curl

To make your buttocks and lower back muscles stronger:

Leg Extension

To make your thigh muscles stronger and possibly decrease knee pain:

Stretching the Back of Your Leg

To make it easier for you to move around:

Other Activities

Walking is a great way to improve your strength, balance, and endurance.

Tai Chi is a good exercise for healthy adults to help develop balance.

Simple movements and exercises in a swimming pool can help improve balance and build strength.

When to Call the Doctor

If you have pain, dizziness, or problems breathing during or after any exercise, stop. Talk with your physical therapist, nurse, or provider about what you are experiencing and before you continue.

References

Donath L, van Dieen J, Faude O. Exercise-based fall prevention in the elderly: what about agility? Sports Med. 2016;46(2):143-149. PMID: 26395115 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26395115.

National Institute on Aging website. Prevent falls and fractures. www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures. Updated March 15, 2017. Accessed May 15, 2018.

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Review Date: 4/15/2018  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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