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30 September 2022

Exercise is the most effective way to prevent falls

Raisoft's Lisette Nygård is a physiotherapist and holds a master's in health science, for whom the issues of the elderly are very close to her heart. As a physiotherapist, she has supervised many elderly groups and implemented the Aktivoi project, where elderly people regularly performed strength training. The results achieved in three months were amazing. 

- At the best, for example, the resistances used in the leg press increased by a good twenty kilos, and even in the group over 80 years old, muscle strength increased by 20-30 percent, she describes. 

The numbers about falls are a harsh reality to read. One in three over 65 falls at least once a year, and a half over 80 falls yearly. A quarter of falls cause injuries that require treatment, but on the other hand - a third could be prevented by individual preventive measures. 

Fall risk factors 

Lisette Nygård sorts the factors that increase the risk of falling into three categories: internal, external, and situational. There are many risk factors, but the happy thing is that you can influence a large part of them yourself. The single most effective way is exercise, and the great thing is that it's never too late to start. Even in the elderly, regular exercise quickly produces results. 

- The results of three months of regular training were excellent. The most significant change was in the group that trained under guidance two times a week at the gym, but independent home training was also essential. 

Even a slight increase in muscle strength significantly affects an individual's ability to function and move. Exercise also affects, for example, balance, state of alertness, appetite, energy, breathing, and sleep, as well as anxiety. 

All in all, the cycle created by exercise is positive in many ways, has excellent effects, and improves the quality of life. 

Not rocket science 

Lisette Nygård encourages everyone – especially the elderly – to start strength and balance training. And it's not rocket science. You can achieve a lot with simple, regularly performed exercises. A good tip is to integrate new habits into everyday life. Balance exercises can be done while cooking, for example, standing on one leg while waiting for the microwave to turn off. When you first stick to the habit consciously and tenaciously, after a few weeks, the leg will rise as if by itself when you turn the knob of the microwave. 

Leg strength training can be done so you don't get up from the chair all at once but pump up and down a few times before starting to walk. Good for knees and thigh muscles. 

Lisette emphasizes that even the elderly should not be afraid to challenge themselves. You should adjust the resistance to a higher level when the exercises feel light. 

She reminds us that versatile exercise includes balance, mobility, muscle strength, and endurance exercises, and movement should be regular and continuous, demanding, challenging, and progressive. At its best, it's also socially active, because it's usually more comfortable to train with a group than alone, and you can even make new friends. The leg raises, and the conversations flow at the same time.