Training for Balance and Prevention of Falls
By: Carol Keesey; Aquatic Fitness Instructor
With our variety of weather lately, freezing rain followed by snow, we have icy streets, sidewalks, and parking lots! Everyone worries about falling.
Falls are among the biggest health risks for people with weakened muscles. Current statistics show that one in every three people over the age of 65 will fall down at least once a year. Fear of falling produces a cautious movement that includes slowing down and taking smaller steps resulting in loss of stride length.
One of the best places for training balance is in the water. Water offers freedom with a 3 dimensional support surrounding the body. Water allows movement /walking skills to be developed. Improvement in posture can be seen as the body is stabilized in a vertical position without the need for something to lean or sit on. Walking through the water allows muscles to strengthen and lengthen with every stride. The resistance of the water develops strength training with every movement-no matter which direction is taken. The buoyancy of water assists with every movement -no matter which direction is taken,and makes movements which are difficult on land much easier.
Therefore those people with issues walking comfortably and safely on land,are able to move easily through the water while strengthening their muscles for improvement in daily living skills.