We often find ourselves rushing,
distracted and oblivious to potential
hazards, making it easier for us to slip,
trip or fall. Although falls are the leading
cause of serious injury in adults, they
don’t have to be a normal part of aging.
Falls are preventable.
That’s why it’s critical to know how
to prevent them, particularly as we age
and our health and bodies may not be
as sound as they once were. Your vision,
for example, may not be as sharp, and
could use an annual checkup. “Through
the aging process, there is a natural
functional decrease in speed, accuracy,
agility, range, endurance, coordination,
stability, strength and elasticity,” says
Balancing your active life
Physical activity helps slow natural changes in our bodies as we age
WRITTEN BY COLLEEN SETO
Lesley McEwan, the Older Adult Project
coordinator with the Alberta Fitness
Leadership Certification Association.
"The rate of this decrease is different for
everyone, and most often is dependent
on lifestyle—namely, daily physical
Being active can also help slow the
decline in our natural abilities. “Physical
activity can decrease the rate of aging,
reduce the risk of developing certain
conditions and even slow down the
progression of diseases common in older
adults,” McEwan says.
Building balance and strength is
essential. “As we age, it’s important
to consider activities that challenge
our balance,” says Cathy Harbridge, a
physical therapist and clinic coordinator
for the Calgary Fall Prevention Clinic.
“You could try a community exercise
program targeted at older adults with
balance exercises, or try a tai chi class.
It’s also important to keep our muscles
strong so that we’re able to do the things
we like to do, whether it’s managing our
home, playing with grandkids, or even
something as simple as getting out of a
See everyday exercises for older adults
at findingbalance.ca. And of course,
check with your primary care doctor
before beginning any exercise program.
For older adults who lead active
Balance is like muscle strength: the more you use it, the less likely you are to lose it.