Falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors. And falls are the main reason why older adults lose their independence. It is to everyone’s advantage to help prevent falls and take the necessary steps to improve balance and strength.

All levels of people who exercise (or not) can benefit from balance training exercises and exercise programs. Athletes find it can make them more powerful and therefore improve their performance; fitness lovers know it helps to improve the quality of their workouts and positively impact their everyday life. Older adults know it can help to prevent falls and the subsequent injuries that follow.

When a child falls, they get back up and keep moving; when an adult or senior falls, the injuries can be serious and even deadly. Balance training exercises teach neuromuscular control and coordination (the connection between your brain and your muscles), so that your body can react more quickly to a change in its’ position – like when you trip on something or get shoved. Balance training exercises also teach you to use your core (abdominals, back and hip muscles) while standing for improved stability.

There are many external factors that can affect your balance and stability; some of these factors you have little control over while others can be changed with a little effort on your behalf!

Exercise remains an effective way to improve lower body and core strength, both of which are required for better balance and stability. If you already exercise regularly, make sure you incorporate a few balance-specific exercises into your routine; in fact, these exercises can be done daily for better results – it only takes a few minutes!

Balance exercises will target lower body muscles, like your thigh, buttocks and calf muscles, as well as your back and abdominal muscles. Performing these exercises barefoot will give you the neuromuscular stimulation and feedback from your feet that will further improve the results.

Click on this month’s short balance training exercise videos for exercises that you can do daily. Choose your level and work from there. Keep it safe – have a chair nearby for support if needed and clear a space around you. Good posture and balance go hand in hand, so keep your head tall, look ahead, chin pulled in, shoulder blades pulled back and down your spine.

For additional balance training, watch out for the Cummings Centre’s upcoming Wellness Free Trial Monday Dec. 16 – 23, 2021 on Zoom – ALL our fitness classes incorporate exercises that will help improve balance, lower body and core strength.

Click here to watch:

Capsule 1 – Weight shifts
Capsule 2 – Step out
Capsule 3 – Tandem Stance
Capsule 4 – Dead Bug

For more information on how to prevent falls: Fall Prevention Month – Canada

Written by Annette Vezina, Cummings’ Wellness Centre staff person, who teaches fitness classes including balance and mobility training.

The Cummings Centre’s mission is to empower and enhance the quality of life of adults age 50 and over by providing dynamic and innovative programs, social services, and volunteer opportunities in a vibrant, respectful, inclusive and compassionate environment. Building on its Jewish heritage, Cummings embraces people from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

As the hub of Montreal’s 50+ community, the Centre touches the lives of 10,000 people on an annual basis. In addition to its main campus at 5700 Westbury Avenue in Montreal, programs are offered at several off-site locations including the West Island, Cote Saint-Luc, St.LaurentWestmountChomedey and Florida.

For more information, please contact us by phone at 514-343-3510, online at www.cummingscentre.org or in person at 5700 Westbury Avenue.