LIFESTYLE

Take Up Tai Chi Or Carry Shopping To Reduce Falls, Over-60s Told

25/01/2017 10:39

People should carry shopping or take up tai chi in a bid to stave off falls in later life, experts have said.

Gardening and dance classes could also help improve strength and balance, according to the Centre for Ageing Better.

The charitable foundation estimates that four in 10 over-70s underestimate how important good strength and balance is to reduce falls.

It said that improving muscle strength and ability to balance is imperative in reducing risk.

pensioner shopping bags

Louise Ansari, programme director for physical activity at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: "It is a sad state of affairs that there are over 250,000 emergency admissions of older people to hospital for falls every year, when so many falls and fractures could be prevented by simple exercises that improve people's strength and balance.

"People can improve their own strength and balance by doing more activities like carrying shopping and doing the gardening as well as exercise like dance and tai chi.

"The NHS and local authorities can help to prevent falls by commissioning evidence based services that improve strength and balance and making them available to those most at risk."

The comments come as health and care officials are to publish a Falls and Fracture Consensus Statement outlining actions that the health, care and housing sectors can take to help prevent older people having falls and fractures.

Recommendations are expected to include providing exercise programmes that improve strength and balance and reducing hazards in the home.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England's national director for health and wellbeing, said: "Falls can pose a very serious health issue for older people and often lead to a loss of confidence and independence.

"Sadly they are all too common. Each year, around a third of people aged 65 and over and half of those aged 80 and over experience a fall.

"It's vital that as people get older, they get the support to stay healthy and maintain their strength and balance through being physically active.

"This statement and advice on preventing falls and injuries will be invaluable for those working with older people."

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