Balance is a key indicator of our physical health because the ability to stand and walk is a strong predictor of survival in older adults. Maintaining sufficient balance, mobility and strength is a priority in exercise programming when an independent lifestyle is desired. Between older adults, the physical abilities vary widely and they generally deteriorate to an extent over the lifespan. Good balance and mobility are necessary to perform daily activities, to enjoy recreational activities, and are essential for engaging in an active aging lifestyle.
An important objective of an effective balance and mobility program is to challenge, but not exceed our client's capabilities by systematically introducing balance and mobility tasks of increasing complexity. This structured approach to design and implementation of a balance and mobility program reduces the many risk factors that contribute to falling. The activities are performed in a variety of practice environments that simulate activities encountered during daily life.
The FallProof Balance and Mobility Specialist can also incorporate the balance exercises as part of an overall client centered exercise program, however, when someone is at increased fall risk following an intensive 24 session 12- week program is recommended. After the 12-week program a maintenance program can be developed and implemented that can slow down age- and disease-related declines in function.
Balance exercises are most successful when the exercises target
the specific impairment or weakness that causes loss of balance.
Beginning a Falls Prevention and Balance and Mobility Program
A new client is requested to complete a Health Medical History Questionnaire, a Fall Risk Questionnaire and several administrative forms. A Medical Release may also be requested from the healthcare provider. A good candidate is som one who is just beginning to experiencing changes in balance and mobility, has had a recent fall, or has a history of falls. We conduct a Pre-Exercise Screen to determine possible impairments and identify strengths and weaknesses. The Pre-Exercise Screen includes vital signs, a Fall Risk Screen, a multi-sensory balance and mobility assessment, and functional fitness assessment.
We then carefully review our client's health and medical history, any recommendations made by their healthcare provider, and most recent bone density scan (if available) to check fracture risk. We then develop a multicomponent physical activity and exercise program unique to the client and schedule training sessions.