I Might Fall Down But I Can Get Back Up!

Date: 23 May 2022   Author: Energise Me

It is not the fear of falling, but the fear of not being able to get back up that prevents some from an active lifestyle. That’s why Valley Leisure developed Steady and Strong exercise classes. They wanted to share techniques to standing back up.

Frances’ Experience

“If I were ever to have a fall, I now feel confident that I could use the techniques gained from the class to help me safely get back to my feet which is something I have never felt before.” This is how one member of the Steady and Strong class feels having attended sessions for over 24 weeks.

Frances started the Steady and Strong class to help increase her strength and balance. Most importantly, she started this class to reduce her chances of falling. After only six weeks, she had improved her leg strength and could complete ten chair raises in thirty seconds from an initial eight. After a further six weeks, Frances improved to twelve chair raises in thirty seconds! She continues to gain strength attending weekly sessions, alongside other exercise at the I Can Therapy Centre and at home.

In addition, completing the Steady and Strong classes has had a hugely positive impact on Frances’ life. She said, “the class has given me the techniques to get on and off the floor. Previously, that had been a real concern for me.”

A Fear of Falling

A fear of falling is recognised as a person’s anxiety towards usual or normal walking, moving or mobilising, with the perception that a fall will occur. It is most common among older adults and can be debilitating. This fear can cause a reduction in everyday movement. In turn, this creates additional decline in functional ability, mobility, strength and balance. Together, these factors only increase the risk of falling.

Backward chaining, however, is a recognised technique to combat this fear. During this, participants practice getting down onto the floor and back up again. It is a method incorporated into the Steady and Strong exercise classes delivered in Andover.

Backward Chaining

Simply, backward chaining breaks down the movement of lowering oneself to the floor and getting up into small steps. Each step must be practiced until enough confidence is gained to progress to the next step. In time, those who attend these classes, like Frances, have the confidence to complete the full movement sequence. They can use this anywhere should a fall occur.

The benefit of teaching the backward chaining method as part of the Steady and Strong class cannot be underestimated. Exercise Therapist, Jacob Webb, explains: “being able to get to a place of safety and ideally up off the floor following a fall is essential. It helps to prevent some of the complications that occur when people are stuck on the ground for a long time. These problems include dehydration, delayed medical treatment, pressure injuries or even hypothermia.”

Jacob added, “teaching people to get down and up from the floor using backward chaining is giving people the confidence to maintain their everyday activities and go about their daily lives. They have less fear of falling due to more self-confidence in being able to get back up.”

Why It’s Useful

Falling is a huge concern for health and social care services. Especially, as falling is preventable and not an inevitable part of ageing. Hampshire County Council’s Public Health Team report that nearly 80,000 people aged 65 and over have experienced a fall within the last 12 months across the county.

Just over 17,100 calls were made to the Hampshire Ambulance Service in Hampshire in 2017/18 for a falls related incident. Less than half of these cases resulted in a hospital visit. This could suggest that most people may not have been injured but needed help to get up from the floor. Had these people been taught how to get up using techniques like backward chaining, a fair proportion of ambulance call outs could have been prevented.

Need To Know

Valley Leisure’s I Can Therapy Centre team deliver three Steady and Strong group exercise classes per week. They take place at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Weyhill Road. Each class lasts one hour and includes: a warm-up; tailored exercise to mobilise joints, strengthen muscles, improve balance, increase flexibility and increase coordination of movement; backward chaining; and a cool down.

Classes are delivered as a course of six sessions, costing £36 per course. They are designed to help people improve strength and balance and get up from the floor. Hopefully, enabling people to live independently for longer and avoid falls.

For more information or to book a place on the next Steady and Strong exercise courses starting in June, contact I Can Therapy Centre on 01264 568241, email info@icantherapycentre.co.uk or visit the I Can Therapy Centre website.

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