Falls Prevention Project: Stay Safe, Stay Active
South Western Sydney Area Health Service
A Unit of the Division of Population Health
1. Warm Up
Breathe in deeply through nose, lift arms above head and stretch. Lower arms and breathe out 6 times.
2. Shoulder rolls (flexibility)
Gently rotate shoulders up to ceiling, backwards, and down. Then reverse: up, forward and down. 6 times each way.
3. March on spot (mobility)
Hold onto chair with 2 hands. Walking on the spot. Try to lift knees a bit higher than usual. Step 10 times with each leg.
4. Ankle (strength)
Hold onto chair. Rise up onto toes of both feet, hold for 5 seconds, then lower. Keep heels on the floor and lift toes off the floor; hold for 5 seconds. Repeat both movements 6 times.
5. Knee bend (strength)
Hold onto chair. Stand with knees soft and back straight. Keeps knees pointing over toes. Bend your knees gently, and then raise your body by straightening your knees. Do this 6 times.
6. Sit to Stand (strength)
Sit in chair against wall. Stand up without using your hands 6 times. If this is too hard, use a pillow on the chair to start until you get stronger.
7. Calf (stretch)
Hold onto chair; stretch one leg behind, toes facing forward, gently bend front knee until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold stretch for 10 seconds. Do 6 stretches.
8. Calf (stretch)
Hold onto chair, stretch as in previous exercise. When you feel the stretch in your back calf, keep the heel of that foot on the ground, and slightly bend the back knee.
As we age our muscles tend to become less flexible and strong, and our joints become stiffer. This can affect our balance. Exercise is the best way to improve strength and mobility. Greater strength and mobility means you may be able to recover your balance if you loose it, therefore avoiding a fall.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Drink some water before and after the exercise.
- Do exercises slowly and gently
- If you feel pain STOP that exercise and discuss with your exercise leader or project manager
- If you feel breathless or dizzy STOP and rest.
Well done. You have now completed all the exercises. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the exercise program please don't hesitate to contact your gentle exercise leader or project manager.
Health Promotion Unit
Hugh Jardine Building
Locked Mail Bag 7017
Liverpool NSW 1871
Tel. 9828 6008
Stage 1 home program - Stay Safe Stay Active: Falls prevention in Primary Care 2001, SWSAHS
Discuss with GP or Pharmacist if you feel they may be causing drowsiness or dizziness.
- The environment
Loose rugs, slippery surfaces, unsecured cords, poor lighting especially at night, and spills of water or grease, all increase the risk of falling. Try and clear away clutter, especially where you need to walk, and secure rugs with grippers to the floor. Mop up any spills immediately.
Wear non-slip shoes that fit well, and have laces or Velcro fastening. Shoes with medium or low heels, which are rounded, are better than high thin heels. Slippers and thongs are not a good idea, as they do not offer enough support. Be careful of wet or slippery surfaces.
A loss of hearing can cause dizziness and balance problems, see your GP if this occurs. It could be something as simple as a lump of wax.
Adequate lighting is very important, do not forget to turn the light on if you get up at night, or keep a nightlight on - keep your glasses by your bed! Bifocals can make going up and down stairs difficult as they alter the perception of where the stair edges are. When walking outside in the sun it is useful to wear a broad rimmed hat, it helps you pick up contrasts on the ground such as steps and edges. Remember to have annual eye tests, as this can detect any changes in your vision.
- Good diet
Eat a well balance diet, and don't allow yourself to become too thin.
If you have a cold or sinus problems then take extra care as this can affect your balance.
- Walking aid
If you use a walking aid, make sure the rubber on the bottom is not worn, and keep it by your bed at night in case you need to get up.
If you do fall in the house do not panic. Stay still for a few minutes to get over the shock. If you are OK try to slide yourself over to a sturdy piece of furniture, sofa, bed or chair and position yourself along side of it. Get into a kneeling position and gradually push yourself up and sit down until you recover. If you are unable to move try to cover yourself with something to keep warm until help arrives.
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