Fall Prevention & Balance

Maintaining balance is the result of a complex interaction of many systems in the human body.  With aging, changes occur that reduce how efficient these systems work.

Many identifying risk factors for falling can be, but not limited to:

  • balance/gait problems

  • prior falls

  • low vision

  • limited ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)

  • depression

  • dementia

  • medications

But, intervention programs work!  Evidence shows twenty to fifty percent lower fall rates with a systematic program of evaluation, exercise, and environment.

Balance is so complex; an exercise program can reduce the risk of falls.  Exercise performed at a moderate intensity or progress from low to moderate intensity two to three times a week is recommended.

Muscle groups that can affect function:

  • Tight hip flexors (occur when sitting too long) can be stretched to help alleviate low back pain. 

  • Tight hamstring muscles can also lead to low back pain, so strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings will help.

  • Tight calf muscles can cause knees to internally rotate; stretching will improve balance. 


Muscle imbalance occurs when muscles on one side of the joint are strong and tight, and the opposing muscles on the other side are weak.  Muscle imbalances can be corrected with strength training.  

  • Stretch short, tight muscles

  • strengthen the weak muscles and continue to train both muscles equally.  

  • Other muscles affected include weak abdominals, gluteus medius, and maximus, tight pectoralis muscles, tight lumbar spine, etc.

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