Help prevent falls through Water Exercise
Date Posted:10 May 2019
The Highest Cause of Preventable Deaths
The highest cause of preventable deaths over the age of 50 is falling. It is a huge global health problem, with over the age of 65 being at most risk. This points to age as being the main risk factor but there are other associated risk factors too, one being poor mobility.
Muscle imbalance, joint instability and poor lower body strength can all give rise to poor mobility. Medicated prescription that has side effects of dizziness or haziness also kicks in as a contributing factor.
A move worth Investing in!
Fall prevention is worth investing in. We all know that when it comes to our personal health, prevention is usually better than the cure! Researchers have concluded that older adults should get involved in exercise programs to prevent falls. One way is to participate in aquatic exercise, preferably run by physios, to improve flexibility, strength and balance.
Exercise is also less painful and strenuous in warm water compared to land. It offers low impact, low weight-bearing exercise thanks to the upward force of buoyancy. Warm water also gives the extra gift of reducing joint inflammation and improving circulation.
Some benefits to think about that may get you jumping around in slow motion!
People who exercise are less likely to get sick or need to enter long term care
Aquatic exercise allows for exercise without risking bone breakage
Aquatic exercise reduces pain for people with knee osteoarthritis
Aquatic exercise is beneficial for Parkinson's disease
Water-based exercise can benefit people with chronic respiratory & cardiac disease *
Extra benefits of water-based over land-based exercise
With some conditions, water-based exercise can be as equally beneficial as land-based exercise. This has been the case with Parkinson's disease where a 2019 review (published in APA) concluded it similar or greater benefits than land-based exercise. In this case and quite possible in some other conditions, water-based exercise gave 3 special benefits over land-based exercise. Want to know what they are?
1) Balance capacity
2) Alleviated fear of falling
3) Health-related quality of life (bit vague but sounds good!)
Any exercise is good, but aquatic therapy is particularly useful for people who experience back pain, joint pain, cardiovascular problems, stroke injury or have difficulties with balance. People with weak balance control are naturally exposed to a higher risk of falling. With about 1 in 3 adults who fall each year in Australia, this is a significant health concern that needs addressing.
Exercising in water is virtually a pain-free workout!