By: Anthony Campo
For many individuals getting older also means doing less and getting weaker. This increases the risk for a fall. Falls usually occur when there is a loss of balance and the individual is unable to correct or catch themselves. The primary reasons for a loss of balance are muscle weakness, and poor motor unit recruitment and intramuscular coordination. In order to maintain or improve these attributes one must constantly be focused on training to maintain these areas. If ignored these areas continue to decrease over time thus increasing the chance of a fall.
Once an individual begins to train these skills they should start becoming more proficient in them. Those skills should be refined further by incorporating them into everyday movement. Focusing on proper mechanics and motor recruitment during your daily activities not only decreases the chance of a fall, but also turns your everyday life into training. A higher frequency of training equals more proficiency in a skill.
Increased proficiency also means your movement can become more purposeful. Every move you make should be crisp and with a purpose. Think about what you are doing and use the proper mechanics and muscles necessary to optimize the movement. For example a situation that can often result in a fall is getting up and turning. Someone that has loss muscle and strength might be used to standing up from a chair, turning and going all in one motion without really thinking about all the movement patterns it entails. Doing all of these things together without thinking could result in a loss of balance and fall.
Instead if this person has been training movements like sit to stands (squats) regularly plus proper gait patterns they might then think of each individual movement in the process. They breathe properly, engage the proper muscles and use optimal form to stand crisply. They then turn with a purpose without crossing their feet, and begin walking with proper mechanics. This could prevent a fall from ever occurring in the first place.