San Diego Local Community News

The Importance of Doing Strengthening and Balancing Exercises to Help Prevent Falls


by Russell Rowe, M.S., Exercise Physiology
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “More than one out of four older people falls each year” and “falling once doubles your
chances of falling again.”* So, falling is a serious risk for older adults and costly in more ways than financial (e.g., chronic pain, reduced mobility and independence, fear of falling again). But there are PROVEN things you can do to prevent falls, such as talking to your doctor about modifying medications that make you dizzy or sleepy; getting your eyes checked regularly; and making your home safer (e.g., add more lights, grab bars, stair railings, and get rid of trip hazards).
Without a doubt, exercising regularly is the most beneficial thing you can do to help prevent falls! In particular, you should incorporate exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
San Diego Oasis​ offers fall prevention exercise classes specifically designed to improve your balance and strengthen your legs! One is called Better Balance: Free from Falls and is ideal for all but the most frail, feeble, and incapacitated. The one-hour class begins with a light warm-up for about 5 minutes. The bulk of the class, about 40 minutes, is devoted to balance training to improve your proprioceptive and vestibular systems, both critical for balance. Your balance is challenged slowly and progressively. If the basic balance exercise being done is not challenging enough you can move an arm, turn or tilt your head, close your eyes, stand on a balance pad (cushiony foam), or even do some of those things in combination. The last 15 minutes of the class is devoted to strengthening (and stretching) your legs by doing exercises such as chair stands (standing and sitting a few times), lateral leg raises, knee raises, and calf raises. There are two handouts for the class – one is a list of the balancing and strengthening exercises done in class so that you can do them at home and the other is a Fall Prevention Checklist for your home. If you are not able to take San Diego Oasis’s Better Balance class for any reason then Tai Chi (short for T’ai chi ch’üan) is an excellent alternative!
If you have any questions about the Better Balance class, contact Russell Rowe at or (619) 347-5440. He is a certified personal trainer with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and 21 years of experience helping older.
For more information on classes at San Diego Oasis, call 619-881-6262 or go to ​​.
*source:; retrieved on 8/18/18.

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