Save yourself from fall related injuries.
We had a very inspirational man train with us a while back, and he was 81 years old.
He walked in after being at the golf shop nearby, and asked me if I could help him get mobile enough to put his golf tee in the ground without having to drop down on a knee.
I explained a little about our method and how I could help him, and he proceeded to join Adaptive Strength (formerly Box33) there and then.
I absolutely loved seeing him in the studio rediscovering his body and finding out that movement, regardless of age, can be restored.
It’s actually interesting to hear how many seniors say that they are too old to train with weights. This is a real tragedy as there is an epidemic of broken hips from falling in elderly homes, not only in Australia but also across the globe.
Both my Grandma and my Nanna broke their hips not a year apart from what seemed to be relatively small falls. In both cases they were told that rehabilitation was not an option, and as a result they were bedridden. I believe that this was the beginning of the end for them, as they both deteriorated quite quickly following these falls.
When my Grandma had her X-rays taken post-fall, the doctor said he could barely see where the bone started and flesh began because her bone density was so poor.
Prevention for this horrible injury needs to start as soon as possible and comes in 3 parts. The first two are to avoid falling in the first place, and the third is to bulletproof your body should the fall occur. There are also nutritional deficiencies that can be addressed, such as adequate vitamin D and calcium supplementation.
Part one: Vision
Vision needs to be addressed first and foremost, as the eyes take in the most information to assist the nervous system in identifying danger in the external environment.
Many optometrists and eye specialists will have you believe that the visual system cannot be trained, and vision once deteriorated cannot be repaired. Obviously it depends on the severity of the dysfunction, but generally it can be improved over time.
The first thing you must understand is that vision exists in the brain, not the eyes. The eye’s are like video recorders and each eye takes pictures of what it sees that that the brain can make a decision on the information it receives.
If we improve brain function through a series of simple vision drills then improvements can generally be seen in just a few sessions, and vast improvements in several months of ongoing training.
Part two: Balance
Prevention also largely relies on being able to balance in different body positions and on different surfaces. Good balance is obtained by training the vestibular system, which is basically the inner ear.
Like the visual system, the vestibular system can be trained and one of the simplest drills I have found is called the infinity walk by Dr Deb Sunbeck. This drill has helped hundreds of people suffering from vestibular related deficits and also scoliosis. With time and practice it can help your nervous system keep your body upright and safe from falls.
Part three: Loaded movement
Increasing bone density is essential in case the first two systems fail you and you take a fall.
Training loaded movements will build stronger ligamentous structures and increase muscle tone. The best way to do this is to start on a progressive weights program that starts out with relatively light weights while you learn the movements. Then as your body adapts to the load the weights will be increased over time.
Movements like the barbell deadlift are perfect, as they teach your body to generate tension from a static position and you will be able to lift the most weight safely.
It goes without saying that you should do your due diligence in finding a gym that accommodates for the elderly and has experienced trainers that can guide you through the above mentioned training systems.