Exercises to help prevent falls
If you have a medical problem or you are an older adult, you may be at risk of falling or tripping. This can result in broken bones or even more serious injuries.
Exercising can help prevent falls because it can:
You can do the following exercises anytime and almost anywhere. As you get stronger, try to hold each position longer or add light weights to your ankles. This will increase how effective the exercise is.
Try to exercise 150 minutes a week. Perform muscle strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week. Start off slowly and check with your doctor to make sure you are doing the right type of exercises for you. You may want to exercise on your own or join a group.
When you exercise, always make sure you breathe slowly and easily. DO NOT hold your breath.
You can do some balance exercises during everyday activities.
To make your calves and ankle muscles stronger:
To make your buttocks and lower back muscles stronger:
To make your thigh muscles stronger and possibly decrease knee pain:
Stretching the Back of Your Leg
To make it easier for you to move around:
Walking is a great way to improve your strength, balance, and endurance.
Tai Chi is a good exercise for healthy adults to help develop balance.
Simple movements and exercises in a swimming pool can help improve balance and build strength.
When to Call the Doctor
If you have pain, dizziness, or problems breathing during or after any exercise, stop. Talk with your physical therapist, nurse, or doctor about what you are experiencing and before you continue.
Delbaere K, Sherrington C, Lord SR. Falls prevention interventions. In: Marchus R, Feldman D, Dempster DW, Luckey M, Cauley J, eds. Osteoporosis. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2013:chap 70.
Donath L, van Dieen J, Faude O. Exercise-based fall prevention in the elderly: what about agility? Sports Med. 2016;46:143-149. PMID: 26395115 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26395115.
Review Date: 5/17/2016
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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