Better Balance Now!

August 22, 2016 by Liz

Ivy Rehab
Fall Prevention
Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS, CST, RYT

As we age the ability to maintain balance becomes more difficult. Many factors influence good balance, some of them are biological; and some we are able to influence and are able to improve. Balance and stability are important factors for aging adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Loss of balance is the primary factor in falls, which often results in serious injuries.

Good balance is dependent on sensory input form the eyes, the correct functioning of the balance system in the inner ear, posture and center of gravity and our ability to sense the position and movement in our feet, legs and arms. Vision affects the balance system, as the eyes send messages to the brain telling us where objects are in space.

Aging adults are affected by a loss of muscle mass and strength. This is associated with an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. It also has a great affect on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Weakness in the ankle musculature may cause difficulty in recovering lost balance more quickly. Strong quadriceps muscles are necessary for good balance and walking. Evidence shows the strength and aerobic training can lead to a reduction in falls.

Loss of flexibility occurs with age. This may lead to difficulty climbing stairs, transferring from sit to stand and or getting out of bed without difficulty. Much of the loss of flexibility is due to inactivity. Flexibility exercises, stretches, gentle yoga will help improve flexibility of major muscle groups and therefore improve ones ability to complete everyday activities.

Postural changes develop as people age but not because they age. Rounded shoulders, forward head postures, increased thoracic curves in the spine are common postural changes. These changes affect the center of gravity in the body moving it forward. With changes in the center of gravity, older adults are more prone to loss of balance and an increased risk of falls.

Medications also contribute to the deterioration of the balance system. Research has shown that adding new medications in the previous two weeks increases the risk for falling.

There are many ways we can adapt to the changes in our bodies as we age. Some helpful tips include:

1. Promote safety in the home by using non-skid surfaces, eliminating area rugs & improve lighting in the home

2. Get a yearly eye exam

3. Proper nutrition and hydration

4. Know the side effects of your medication

5. Use caution with pets running around in your home

5. Different forms of exercise, such as strengthening exercises, flexibility and stretches, postural exercise, yoga, tai chi, and aerobic exercise such as walking, will all contribute to decreasing the risk of falls and improve your balance.

Guidelines from The American College of Sports Medicine suggest that:

1) Healthy adults under the age of 65 should aim for:

– Moderate intense cardiovascular exercises 30 minutes a day (aerobic exercise), five days a week or vigorous intense exercises 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and strengthening-exercises twice a week

– Flexibility or stretching exercises are also recommended a minimum of 2-3 days a week

2) Healthy adults 65 years or older:

– Low-to-Moderate aerobic exercises, 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week and gentle strengthening-exercises (very light weights), 2- 3 times a week

– Flexibility or stretching exercises at a minimum of 2-3 times a week

Types of Aerobic and Low-to-Moderate Exercises:
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If you want to determine your fitness level, refer to the reference guide from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For beginners, you can simply start out by learning the basics of the talk test, which is a rule of thumb for doing moderate-intensity activity and you can still talk, but not sing during an activity. However, if you are doing a vigorous-activity you would want to learn how to find your target heart rate and determine what intensity range you should be exercising at for optimal cardiac performance.

Check out the Stay Healthy Website to determine a simple way to find your target heart rate at: www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/calculators/app/target-heart-rate-calculator. Once you find your target heart rate, wearing a heart rate monitor will make it easier to monitor your desired rate.

If you would like to improve your current level of fitness, but still have questions about how to begin a safe exercise program if you had an injury or illness, our experienced and dedicated licensed physical therapists can help you get started. With Direct Access a prescription is not required to be evaluated. Contact Ivyrehab Briarcliff (914) 762 – 2222 and Ivyrehab Jefferson Valley (914) 245 – 8807 or visit our Website: www.ivyrehab.com to learn more about Direct Access.

References:
(1) Exercise: Designing a Cardiac exercise Program. New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://nyp.org/health/cardiac_exercis3.html
(2) American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://www.mhhe.com/hper/nutrition/williams/student/appendix_i.pdf

Learn how to prevent changes in balance for a fall-free future

February 19, 2015 by Liz

Learn how to prevent changes in balance for a fall-free future.
Practice exercises to improve your balance!

Debbie Lenihan
PT Director
Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley

As we age the ability to maintain balance becomes more difficult. Balance and stability are important factors for aging adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Loss of balance is the primary factor in falls, which often results in serious injuries.

Many factors influence good balance. Some of them are biological and some we are able to influence and improve. Good balance is dependent on sensory input from the eyes, the correct functioning of the balance system in the inner ear, posture and center of gravity, and our ability to sense the position and movement in our feet, legs and arms. Vision affects the balance system, as the eyes send messages to the brain, telling us where objects are in space.

Aging adults are affected by a loss of muscle mass and strength, and have an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. Weakness in the ankle musculature may cause difficulty in recovering lost balance more quickly. Strong quadriceps muscles are necessary for good balance and walking. Evidence shows that strength and aerobic training can lead to a reduction in falls.

Loss of flexibility occurs with age. This may lead to difficulty climbing stairs, transferring from sit to stand and/or getting out of bed without difficulty. Much of the loss of flexibility is due to inactivity.

Postural changes can develop as people age which includes rounded shoulders, forward head postures and an increased thoracic curve in the spine. These changes affect the center of gravity in the body, moving it forward. With changes in the center of gravity, older adults are more prone to loss of balance and an increased risk of falls.

There are many ways we can adapt to the changes in our bodies as we age. Different forms of exercise, such as strengthening exercises, flexibility and stretching exercises, yoga, tai chi, and aerobic exercise, such as walking, will all contribute to decreasing the risk of falls and improving balance.

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Join Physical Therapy at Club Fit Jefferson Valley for a free lecture: “Use it or Lose it” on March 31!

If you would like to attend this free presentation contact Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley at (914) 245 – 8807 to reserve a seat. Space is limited to 10 participants.

Stabilization & Balance: From Athletes to the Elderly

January 30, 2015 by Liz

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher
Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

By Jennifer Schildwachter
Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach Leader

When you hear the terms “corrective exercises”, “prevention of injury”, and “functional strength”, what type of person comes to mind? Although the common answer to this question would be possibly a post-rehab senior with serious injuries, these terms also apply to athletes on their off season maybe dealing with a pre or post season injury or muscle imbalances to correct. When you think “athlete” you often think speed & agility drills or Olympic weight lifting, but the need for core stabilization and balance are needed for all!

Balance is the key to all functional movement and it should also stress a person’s limits of stability, or their “balance threshold”. By training in a multi-sensory environment, the nervous system’s ability to activate the right muscles, at the right time, and in the right plane of motion is vital to the elderly and athletes alike to enhance performance in every day life or an athletic event. All levels of fitness need to infuse this much needed balance and core stabilization exercises to benefit all planes of motion. Both of these needs can be fulfilled in NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Performance Enhancement Specialist Jennifer Schildwachter’s paid program; Correct, Select, and Never Neglect. Participants of all adult ages and fitness levels, learn that there is an inherent difference between functional strength and functional stabilization, which both come into play when trying to improve balance.

Core Stabilization and balance go hand in hand. The main goal of an athlete or senior would be to continually increase their limit of stability by creating progressive balance exercises in a controlled but unstable environment.

A good example of an exercise that you could give an athlete or senior, would be: “Single-Leg Dumbbell Shoulder Scaption”

How to do it:
A. Stand with a light dumbbell in each hand; lift one leg directly beside balanced leg.
B. Keep thumbs pointed up while raising arms to shoulder height at a 45-degree angle in front. Slowly lower. Repeat; alternate legs in each set.

This exercise and more can be learned in this class as well as the improvement in balance and stabilization in all physical abilities!

Interested in taking Correct Select and Never Neglect with Jen? You can sign up for the upcoming session beginning on February 17! Feel free to email Jen with any questions at jschildwachter@clubfit.com!