Challenges with Pivoting, Turning and Quick Direction Changes as we Age
September 1, 2023
Preventing falls is a priority for anyone at any age but especially older adults. Falls can range from a very simple loss in balance resulting in the need to grab a wall before hitting the ground or they can be severe by making complete contact with the ground resulting in serious injuries. Either way, falls can be prevented with mindful movement and consistent exercise.
At Pisgah Valley we take precautions with every resident to prevent falling. In order to put the proper prevention steps in place, we must understand balance challenges such as pivoting, turning and changing directions we encounter due to the natural aging process.
The fact is no matter how strong and conditioned your body is, as you age, changing direction quickly and turning becomes more difficult to accomplish without throwing off your balance.
Here are a few reasons why pivoting, turning and quick direction changes are more challenging:
- Medication interference and side effects
- Vision and hearing problems can cause the person to struggle with depth perception and overall assessment of their immediate environment
- Muscle mass decreases therefore strength decreases
- Reactions slow down
- Reflexes and coordination slows down
How to maintain balance and decrease the risk for falling when changing direction
- Incorporate an exercise regimen into your weekly routine that includes balance exercises and other activities that help improve or maintain body support such as tai chi, strength training, yoga, walking and dancing. At Pisgah Valley, our weekly wellness classes offer all of these options and more!
- Slow down and be mindful that your reactions may not be as quick! Keeping this in mind and moving in a controlled and strategic manner can help the body balance better.
- If you are someone that likes to move quickly then find safe environments where you can safely burn that energy such as in a pool. You can also consider training with a physical therapist or personal trainer in agility specific exercise moves such as these suggested by SilverSneakers.
- Maintain a balanced diet and adequate hydration by eating whole fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water. Try to moderate alcohol consumption as much as possible.
If you are finding that your confidence is low during activities of daily living, consider visiting your doctor and expressing your concerns around a fear of falling. This may be a great time to get some one-on-one help with a physical therapist that can create a routine specific to your needs. Proactive steps such as this one can help keep you on your feet and avoid being one of the 3 million that falls each year.