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Fear of falling and more...

Updated: Feb 12

Fear of falling is not a medical condition but more a psychological syndrome that has been identified as a risk factor for falling. Research shows (Murphy & Isaacs, 1982) that between 35 and 56 percent of community-residing older adults significantly reduce or restrict their activities due to being fearful of falling. When older adults reduce or restrict their physical activities, an accelerated loss in muscle strength, balance and bone density can occur which places the individual at increased risk for fracture.

A heightened fear of falling is common after a fall, even if the fall did not result in injury, it has also been observed among older adults who have not yet fallen. Some of the risk factors associated with developing for of falling include a history of multiple falls, dizziness, certain medical conditions that affect mobility (e.g.rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke) and self-reported poor health. The Balance Efficacy Scale can help you identify which specific tasks and environments adversely affect the older adult’s level of confidence.

Treating Fear of Falling

When you have a fear of falling, your health-fitness professional has access to this form. Increasing physical activity levels among older adults and careful selection of exercise progressions by the health fitness professional are essential in treating a fear of falling.

Other methods such as cognitive-behavioral intervention techniques, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and visualization also constitutes an effective way to treat fear of falling.

Walking Speed and Life Expectancy

Walking speed is the 'sixth vital sign' and is of significant importance to older adults because of its association with a heightened risk of mortality. Walking is especially useful for zeroing in on life expectancy for older adults who currently able to get around independently and for seniors older than 75. 
A slow walking speed increases fall risk and risk of injury. Did you know that you need to walk at 3 mph for at least 30 seconds so that you are able to cross the street before the traffic-light changes?

The speed at which you walk is a clinical marker of functional status, integrating health, disease, fitness, and emotional state. Slower walking speeds are linked to frailty, functional dependence, incontinence, mobility disability, cognitive decline, falls, hospitalization and all-cause mortality, while brisk walking has been linked to better health. Research point to health indicators of various walking speeds in adults 65 years and older:

  • Speeds equal or less than 1.3 miles per hour suggest poor health and functional status

  • A speed of 1.8 miles per hour is the medical walking pace for adults 65 years and older

  • Speeds of 2.2  mph and faster suggest healthier aging

  • Speeds of 2.7 mph and faster indicate 'exceptional' life expectancy

Culinary Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine

Culinary medicine is an evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. It is aimed at helping people reach good personal medical decisions about accessing and eating high-quality meals that help prevent and treat disease and restore well-being. The objective of culinary medicine is to attempt to empower the patient to care for herself or himself safely, effectively, and happily with food and beverage.

Lifestyle Medicine is the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease. 
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine is a society of medical professionals united to reverse chronic disease with evidence-based education, practices and resources that support the therapeutic use of lifestyle changes as the foundation of health and healthcare.

Did you know that while a number of dietary patterns have been associated with prevention and treatment of common chronic diseases, The Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet is however the ONLY diet shown to reverse coronary artery disease—a leading cause of heart disease, which is responsible for one in every four deaths for those over age 35.

The scientific evidence for both nature therapy and culinary medicine is accumulating.

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