The best way to reduce falls is to be physically active. When seniors choose activity programs that build strength, balance and flexibility, they significantly reduce their chances of experiencing a fall. The Shape Up campaign is a great way for older adults to get plugged into free and low-cost community activity programs. The Shapeup program provides a discount to older adults 50+ to participate in group physical activity classes at seven community/senior centers in King County, with the intent that older adults will continue to participate in other physical activity classes. Exercise can benefit older adults by improving their health and independence. The problems related to mobility and falls are related in part to muscle strength and balance. Older women report lower rates of exercise, 6% for 65-74 and 4% above 75.1 Taking part in physical activity three to five times a week can help reduce the risk for a fall.
Falls have a significant impact on older populations. The King County Medical Examiner certified 594 deaths as non‐traffic accidents for the calendar year 2011. The largest group of accidental deaths were those who died as a result of a fall, 49% (291/594). Of the 291 deaths attributed to injury sustained in falls, 80% (233/291) occurred in the age group 70 years and over. A large percentage were ground‐level falls in elderly individuals, which resulted in fractures leading to complications such as pneumonia.
Since the ShapeUp program began in 2009, over 2,551 older adults have participated in the program. Depending on the community/senior center, 50% to 75% of Shape-Up participants continue to take other physical activity classes.
The seven community/senior centers participating in the Shape Up campaign are: North Bellevue Community Center, Bitter lake Community Center, Loyal Heights Community Center, Burien Senior Center, Mt. Si Senior Center, Sno-Valley Senior Center and Northshore Senior Center. These centers offers a $10 ShapeUp discount for seniors on any of their physical activity class, such as yoga, line-dancing, enhance fitness and other group exercise classes designed for seniors.
Learn more about:
- Shape Up Partners (Community and Senior Centers)
Community and senior centers offer a wide range of programs, services, and resources to promote healthy aging and wellness.
- Fall Prevention
Falls are a major threat to the health and independence of older adults, people aged 65 and older. There are four important strategies that can reduce your risk for falls including exercise, medication management, vision and home modification.
1 Research Digest by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.