A recent article in the Times commented on a review from the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group in relation to exercise preventing fall prevention. Researchers reviewed 108 trials with 23,407 participants in 25 countries and found that some exercises are better for balance, fall prevention and indeed spinal health than others. Exercises such as T’ai chi and yoga are the most beneficial in helping balance and fall prevention.
Even very fit individuals may not have protection against falling as they get older if they do not perform the right type of exercise. People fall as they get older due to a decline in muscle mass and strength. The neurons in our spinal cord that control balance reduce in number as we get older. To prevent falling, as well as T’ai chi and yoga, we can institute day to day lifestyle changes. Standing on one leg is a simple exercise we can all do while brushing our teeth every morning. Once you can do it for 20 seconds try doing it with your eyes closed. Young adults can do this for 30 seconds but a 70 year old can only manage four or five seconds. Practice this at home every day. It is good for core strength, spinal health and fall prevention.