Proprioception: The body’s awareness of its position or movement in space, is a critical component of maintaining balance, especially when the eyes are closed. There has been a multitude of that portrays the benefits of integrating proprioceptive training into an exercise or home exercise program.
Studies targeting older adults (60-80 years) who performed a 12 week proprioceptive exercise program involving 12 different exercises resulted in improvements in both dynamic (moving) and static (non-moving) balance.
An alternative to community based programs is home exercise programs, which have been shown to result in a moderate reduction in the mean number of falls and fear of falling among frail adults. Again, emphasising the importance of these programs, to ensure the safety of yourself and reducing the likelihood of falling and worst of all breaking a bone.
Secondary to the benefits of implementing a proprioception program, there has been further information relating to other studies within the older adults age-group. This includes the ability to stand on one leg or as the study states the ‘One leg standing time’. This study has been utilised as a tool to screen if older adults are at risk of falling and identifying potential fracture risks.
From this screening tool if an individual can only stand on one leg for less than 6.5 seconds, they are at risk of falling with risk of fractures. If they score between 6.5-10 seconds, there is a minimal risk of falling and if 10 or more seconds is scored, they are at extremely low risk of falling. If individuals are able to identify these risks early, then earlier interventions can be commenced to reduce any potential future falls.
If you feel at all unsteady on your feet, or you have experienced a fall in the past, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your health professional who can assist in identifying risks and work with you to become more confident on your feet.