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Seniors' Falling Injuries Are Preventable

Seniors Falling

What You Can Do to Help Prevent Falls

  • Remain active
  • Weight training to strengthen leg muscles
  • Tai chi for balance and strength
  • Wear flat, wide-toed shoes
  • Eat calcium-rich foods
  • Take calcium supplements
  • Preventing Falls and Injuries

Maintaining muscle strength through exercise may be the key to fall prevention. "Many elderly are scared of falling, so they restrict their activities and that can begin a downward spiral," Johnston said. "Paradoxically, what people need to do is to keep exercising to maintain their function to keep from falling."

She recommends strengthening leg muscles through weight training. She also advocates tai chi, a calm form of Chinese martial arts, which has been shown to reduce fall frequency because it promotes balance and strength.

Choosing shoes that are flat and have a wide toe is also important in fall prevention.

Because falls aren't always avoidable, older Americans should prepare themselves, Johnston said. Eating calcium-rich foods and taking calcium supplements to keep bones strong will play a big part in determining how people fare during and after a fall.

"If elders can stay active rather than becoming sedentary, they will do much better in their later years," she said. "There's hope. It is never too late."

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