April 12, 2011

Here's an exercise program for preventing falls that looks very good

Next to fears of Alzheimer's/dementia, my biggest and increasing concern as I age is the fear of falling. I'm know most of my contemporaries share this fear.

Here's what the Center for Disease Control has to say about the elderly and falls:

"Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can lead to moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can even increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable."

How can you prevent falling?  Here's CDC's No. 1 recommendation:

"Exercise regularly. It’s important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance. Tai Chi programs are especially good."
A few days ago I finally got around to watching an exercise DVD that I bought at last month's symposium sponsored by the Parkinson's Foundation. It's Vol. One of a planned "Active Aging and Mobility" series put together by exercise therapists Kim Brooks and Bill Swann.

Right from the start I  liked it because Kim and Bill are not the typically slim and buffed therapists usually found on these videos who discourage me at the outset because I know I'll never look like them.  Kim and Bill are even more overweight that I am.  Hooray!!

I only watched the first half of the video. The exercises shown are all done while either standing or seated and none of them are physically taxing. They are simple, easily understood exercises that are designed to enhance the workings of our aging bodies and brains. Watching this part of the DVD took over 45 minutes, but I'm sure that with another one or two viewing I'll get the hang of all the exercises. After that, the exercises can easily be spread out over the course of the day.  Doing a couple of them at a time would only take a few minutes.

Some of the exercises, I could do in bed before getting up in the morning. Others can be done while waiting for my computer to boot up or download. All of them can easily be scattered throughout the day -- while waiting for a pot to boil (or, in my case, waiting for the microwave to do its thing), while standing in line at the grocery store, while watching TV, while sitting at the computer, etc.

One thing I'll have to be careful about, however, is to keep from only doing the exercises that are fairly easy for me and ignoring those that are more difficulties.  The difficult ones are the ones that provide the greatest benefit in exercising the brain by giving it new challenges.

For me, the difficult ones all involve trying to do two or three different body movements at the same time, such as trying to perform one movement pattern with the right hand while the left hand performs a different one. But I was reassured that I was not a "retard" by subsequently seeing a report on a study that found seniors have a much greater difficulty multi-tasking. See:

I'll take a look at the second half of the DVD, which features Qu Qong and the "Tai de Tango." later this week and let you know how that goes.

To purchase the DVD, which costs $25, go to:


How about you? What have you found in the way of exercise programs that work?


Darlene said...

John, each time my 92-year-old mother stands up after sitting, she always takes a few moments to steady herself... to get her balance... before starting to walk. I know it's just "common sense," but I'm pleased to see her being thoughtful and careful.

Jason B said...

Thank you for this info about the DVD. I'll order it!

Carlos said...

My father has been terrified of falling. Appreciate this info and suggestions. Post new info as you find it. Thanks.

John Schappi said...

Will do Carlos. In fact, most of the posts for this week will be on the subject of exercise

John Schappi said...

Your mother's caution and common sense no doubt play a role in keeping her going at age 92. Good for her.

Kimberly Brooks said...

hi john
loved the blog
the dvd is 12 bucks though not 25! and try try try to do those exercises that have several movements as that REALLY helps the brain get stronger
bill and i both wish we were thinner
but the good news is no matter where you are in life, there is always something you can do to keep yourself stronger as you meet challenges.
i love the blog you have created. i think it is immensely helpful ~
I can be reached at kyoshenh1@verizon.net


John Schappi said...

Thanks, Kimberly. Your DVD is worth $25, but glad to hear it's only $12.
Of all your exercises with multiple movements, do you have any favorites that you thing provide the best brain exercise?