Falls remain a killer, especially to the senior population.
A little more than a year ago, I took a falls prevention class - a program started up in Australia back in the 1980's. We were taught exercises, heard guest speakers, were taught techniques to get up after a fall by two physical therapists, learned how to walk on uneven surfaces, and listened to each other's falling stories. So, a year later, this is a good time to ask - did the program work?
I don't know the statistics for my fellow attendees, all of whom were older, and many of whom suffered from eye issues such as macular degeneration.
For me, though:
I have continued to do the exercises, although I haven't progressed in them the way I should have (i.e. I am doing fewer reps than I should be doing now. And, I am not using the weights I purchased for two of the exercises. Shame on me). I do wonder at the percentage of people who keep at the exercises. As they say, "use it or lose it". It's true.
Knock on wood, I have not fallen in the past year, and I think those exercises helped. Being able to "tightrope walk" is a matter of strength in the lower legs and that has improved.
Because of our mild winter, I don't know if the increase in balance helped with walking with snow and ice on the ground.
I am not testing myself monthly for macular degeneration (now, where is that special refrigerator magnet? Shame on me again, it takes just seconds a month to test.)
And, I remain fortunate to live in an upstate New York community with a robust set of programs for (although a definite lack of good senior housing) the benefit of its seniors.
I may never walk a real tightrope.
But growing old is an experience in so much, including balance. I may eventually explore other options for exercise besides my walking, such as yoga. But for now, I am satisfied that the Stepping On program made a difference in my life.
I would highly recommend a falls prevention program to anyone who has fallen, or has balance issues.
Do you want to see "Falling Friday" start up again?