Did you know:
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality among older adults.
- The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
- Hip fractures are far more common than breast cancer in women, and that one out of four hip fracture patients will never return to a normal life?
After age 50, you will lose muscle strength at a rate of 12%-14% per decade if you are not physically active. Flexibility exercises tends to be the most overlooked and neglected activity among seniors.
So seniors, you are getting both tighter and weaker at a much faster rate.
Seniors tend to sit for greater amounts of time causing the muscles of the neck, torso, hips, knees and ankles to become tighter and weaker. This muscle imbalance causes changes in posture exhibited by a forward head, rounded shoulders posture that contributes to the crouched and shuffled walking pattern that puts people at a much greater risk for falling.
Now for the good news:
Exercises to improve walking, balance, flexibility and strength have been shown to reduce fall risk by 14%–37%.
Using your swim spa to perform a fall prevention exercise program is very safe and beneficial.
Here is Why:
- Water is 500-800x more supportive that air but can be up to 15x more resistant. This allows you to get a safe and effective workout without the harmful effects of gravity.
- Water is 3-dimensional meaning it is a surrounding medium. That means you get resistance in every direction that you move. This is a much more comprehensive/holistic way to exercise compared to the one-dimensional training environment of land.
- The waters resistant forces helps to improve your coordination and confidence so normal walking patterns can help be strengthened in a safe and efficient environment.
- Single leg balance activities can be extremely important to your overall balance and can be very effective when performed in water.
- Your swim spas resistance jets can be introduced to increase the amount of turbulence to build your balance even greater.
One of the most important benefits that I find when working with people in the water with balance issues is the confidence factor. People tend to challenge themselves greater in the water because their fear of falling is minimized. When integrated with a basic land based exercise program I have seen tremendous progress in balance, function and overall quality of life.
Swim Spa Exercise is Medicine!
Dr. Rick McAvoy, PT, DPT, CSCS has specialized in Aquatic Physical Therapy, Fitness and Sports Performance for over 25 years. Rick is the Owner of Swim Spa Exercise, a virtual training company to help people maximize the use of their swim spas. He wants everyone to Move Better and Live Better.
For more information of how to maximize the use of your Swim Spa and how to Move Better and Live Better visit.