There seems to be a day for everything on the calendar! National Hot Dog Day was July 19th, October 4th is Random Acts of Poetry Day, October 9th is National Fire Prevention Day and September 22nd is Falls Prevention Awareness Day!
Some are more important than others. Preventing falls should be high on the list. There are some alarming statistics related to falling:
- One in four Americans 65 and older fall each year,
- Annually 37.3 million falls require hospitalization,
- And an estimated annual cost of $67.7 billion due to fall injuries by 2020.
Fortunately one of the best strategies for preventing falls is exercise.
A simple but highly effective exercise to maintain or improve balance only requires a chair. At the surface the sit to stand exercise seems very basic and possibly easy for some (until you do multiple repetitions in a set).
Begin sitting upright with your feet flat on the ground underneath your knees. Move your shoulders and head over your toes, bring your knees forward, and allow your hips to come of the chair, then push down equally into both feet to stand up. Sit back down and repeat.
Tip: Make sure to keep your weight evenly distributed between both legs, and try to keep your back straight throughout the exercise. Do not lock out your knees once you are standing.
What makes this exercise one of the top choices for improving balance and preventing falls, to start it is functional. Think about how many times you have to get up and down from a chair throughout your day. Often standing up from a chair people feel unsteady and need to take a moment to ready themselves before walking. Practicing this exercise will not only improve your leg strength which will make the act of getting up and down easier but it will also give you confidence that once you are standing you will be able to move. The sit to stand exercise requires minimal equipment, all you need is a chair! It can be executed in a safe manner and modifications can be made to make it more or less challenging. The use of arm rests on a chair to assist in standing is one modification that can be used to make the exercise easier. If you have difficulty with your balance once you are standing try placing your chair near a counter so you have support in front of you once you are on your feet.
Start with trying to build your repetitions gradually up to a set of 10. Once you are able to achieve this goal you can add multiple sets throughout your day. One simple way to sneak in some extra reps is to stand up and sit down twice when getting out of a chair!
Blog post by Eric Chandler.