Home care in Ashburn, VA

  • 21035 Sycolin Road
  • Suite 055
  • Ashburn, VA 20147

Focus on Falls: Fall Risk and Physical Fitness

By: Sharon Roth Maguire

An older adult is likely to experience a fall for many reasons. If you think of a fall as an interaction between the physical environment and certain characteristics of an individual, it's a great way to frame fall risk. Fall risk can come from the environment--the physical environment you live in (your home, for example, both inside and outside)--as well as the characteristics of the individual themselves. What I mean by that are things like your physical health and wellbeing, your overall strength and mobility, or your medications (which can be a significant factor).


Falls can be very detrimental to an older adult, especially in terms of their quality of life and overall function. Being physically fit is very important to keeping your fall risk low. When your physical fitness is not what it once was, we know that particularly problematic area are those quadriceps (those muscles of your upper thigh)  keeping those muscles strong, research tells us, can contribute to reducing your fall risk. Physical fitness just by walking, simple squatting exercises, bending exercises, reaching exercises, and even more advanced things like Tai Chi and yoga, have been proven to help reduce fall risk.


Why so? All of those things I mentioned, from the simple to the more advanced, enhance your gait and balance. Balance is a key factor in terms of keeping fall risk to a minimum, and it’s quite common, not only with muscle weakening as we get older, lack of physical exercise, and even some medications, that our balance and our gait can be affected. It’s important for you to stay as active as possible, whether that’s by simply getting out an walking around your block, or even walking around your house. That kind of physical activity helps those muscles stay active. Doing simple squatting exercises; bending; reaching; even very simple chair based exercises; simple yoga; simple Tai Chi maneuvers can help you stay physically fit, improve your gait, and improve your balance.


You may think, “How can I get that all done? I don't have enough time in a day. I don’t have the resources to go to a gym.” Well, never fear, there are ways to accomplish these simple exercises in your own home. Certainly, if you feel like you can't do it yourself, if you feel like you need a motivational coach, you can always hire someone to help you with that. BrightStar CNA’s and health aids have been trained to know how to do simple exercises with our clients in their own home. Our Registered Nurse, Director of Nursing, oversees these specially trained CNA’s to help them help you understand how you can reduce your fall risk in the area of improving your physical activity, your gait, and your balance, that will help you reduce the likelihood of falling