NHS: Bend the knees!

PUBLISHED: 12:17 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

THE right exercises can prolong and increase independence in older people. A programme of balance and strength can help to reduce falls and increase confidence. Exercise can have a strong positive effect on many causes of falls. Weak legs, poor mobility a

THE right exercises can prolong and increase independence in older people. A programme of balance and strength can help to reduce falls and increase confidence.

Exercise can have a strong positive effect on many causes of falls.

Weak legs, poor mobility and balance, low blood pressure, arthritis and fear of falling are all factors that can improve with specific exercise programmes.

Research has found that older people liked the idea of improving their balance and strength through exercise but few knew that exercise could reduce their risk of falling (Help the aged 2005)

Improvements can be achieved within as little as 12 weeks but in order for these gains to be maintained, exercise opportunities have to be provided within the community. Considering transport and cost, these opportunities have to be easily accessible and relatively cheap to run.

The obvious solution to this is to train sheltered housing scheme managers, care workers, day care workers and volunteers to deliver these exercise classes within their schemes and encourage them to open the class to the wider community. This has been achieved through a continued training programme delivered through the falls prevention service from East Cambs and Fenland PCT.

The exercise co-ordinator is conducting training sessions and part of his role is to provide continued support of the new exercise groups in the community to ensure that effective exercise groups are accessible to all older people in their own community. For more information about falls and fracture prevention please contact Mandy Hill of the falls team on 01354 644217 or via fax on 01354 644251

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