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Boning Up and Boosting Balance

Osteoporosis, falls and fracture can be a growing concern as you age. Protecting yourself and understanding your risk can mean the difference between having an independent life style, dependency and death.

Osteoporosis happens for a number of reasons such being sedentary, nutritional or gastrointestinal issues, family history, certain medications or medical treatments. Osteoporosis and osteopenia are diseases that can creep up at you where your bones are getting weaker and more brittle increasing fracture risk especially in the spine, hip and wrist. Osteopenia is considered low bone density where you have an increase risk for fracture, and Osteoporosis is having a very low bone density where risk fracture is high. Men and women of all ages may have any combination of normal, low to very low bone mass.

Balance and low bone density

Balance is a key area of concern for people who have low and/or very low bone density. One fall can send you to the hospital and ends a life of independence or worse cause death. 

Several factors involve balance, such as your vision, inner ear or your vestibular system, peripheral neuropathy or loss of sensation in feet, musculoskeletal system such muscle strength, joint range of motion, posture, orthopedic problems, and many types of medications.

Posture and fall risk

Poor posture and/or weak muscles can lead to spinal fracture and cause kyphosis and even spontaneous spinal fracture. Poor posture and kyphosis affect balance and can cause balance problems and thus place someone at increased fall risk.

Improving bone density and balance

Increasing bone density and improving balance is possible. You can find out more about your bone density with a bone density scan, the more details the better to determine T-scores. A fall risk screen can indicate if you are at increased fall risk and a balance and mobility assessment such as Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale, Berg Balance Scale and/or Modified Clinical test of Sensory Interaction on Balance can indicate the reason why balance disturbances happen and why they place you at increased or high fall risk. A certified balance and mobility specialist or licensed physical therapist is skilled in conducting these tests. 

Targeted exercise training for better results

When your trainer knows your fracture risk and locations of low or very low bone density, he or she can provide you with exercises that not only help strengthen the muscle but also bone density in key areas, and provide you with information on what exercise or movements in your daily life to avoid to prevent fracture.

The comprehensive multi-sensory balance and mobility assessment shows the health fitness professional what exercises need to be addressed first to reduce the chances of falling.

Rebuilding functional fitness

A functional fitness test can determine how likely you are able to stay independent to advanced age (90+ years).. A functional fitness test measures:

  • Lower body strength

  • Upper body strength

  • Aerobic enduranceLower body flexibility( hip, hamstring) 

  • Shoulder range or motion and flexibility

  • Dynamic balance and agility Determining your strengths and weaknesses helps in developing the most appropriate, safe and beneficial exercise program. At  Fitness & Function we offer in-home assessment and testing including the Fall Risk Screen, various multi-sensory balance and mobility assessments, and functional fitness test. Exercise programs are developed according to our clients’ assessment results, health and medical status and personal preference or wellness goal. When you are concerned how well your current exercise program is protecting your independence, are experiencing a change in balance, had a fall or close fall with or without injuries, feel unsteady or weak,  are concerned about your well-being,  then give us a call or send an email and ask how we can help you.

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