Avalon Care Centre

(519) 941-5161 - 355 Broadway Orangeville, Ontario

Exercising with Osteoporosis - Falls Prevention Month


What Are the Best Exercises for Seniors in Long-Term Care For Those At Risk For Osteoporosis?


Avalon Care Centre - Restorative Care Team Health Innovations Study By Katelyn Burden

**Katelyn Burden, Restorative Care Coordinator at Avalon Care Centre, has been asked to present her findings at the Shoppers Health Innovation Conference in Calgary in November 2015


There is no doubt that seniors are at a higher risk for falls. The exercises provided to this population often focus on strengthening the joints that are frequently fractured in this population, but is this really what the focus should be? The Avalon Care Centre Restorative Care team looks at what exercises are beneficial to seniors who are at risk of osteoporosis and how current exercise programs may need to be adapted when looking at falls prevention.


What exercises are the most beneficial for seniors in long term care? Standard exercise classes for seniors have forever been including seated hip flexion, knee extension and shoulder range of motion (ROM) exercises. What do these exercises accomplish and what are the purpose of these to aide seniors in improvements of quality of life at the age of 70 + years living in long term care? Not much when you think about it.

First we must look at the goals of this population. Goals range for each resident and their capabilities. Maybe we are trying to reduce falls, maintain fall free, or improve mobility/transfers. Regardless of the goal we are only focusing on building strength to a certain point. Yes, we want to improve lower extremity strength in those residents who want to improve their transferring abilities or improve their level of independence with mobility and activities of daily living. How many hip flexor and quadriceps exercises can we do in day? These residents are already completing these exercises on a daily basis when transferring, and walking. There should definitely be some strengthening component in the exercise program we provide, but what other components are we missing or do we need to develop for the residents in long-term care?

As we age, vertebral fractures become more common and often go unnoticed. From the ages of 30, our muscle mass begins to decrease and we begin to develop a kyphotic posture. If we promote spinal flexion in our daily life through slouching, repetitive lifting, and improper posture when completing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), we are increasing the compressive forces in our vertebral bodies resulting in microfractures in these vertebral bodies ultimately developing postural kyphosis. In order to stop the development of these micro fractures, we need to counter this flexion moment during activities and ensure seniors are adopting proper spinal alignment and postures within our excercise classes and during their daily living.




You are running an exercise class using therabands or hand weights. Are the residents bending over to pick up those weights, are they reaching down to adjust the theraband under their foot? If so, we are promoting that flexion movement. We need to adapt our exercises to ensure residents are hinging at their hips during this movement or we need to adapt the exercises so they do not need to flex their spine and go into that kyphotic posture we are trying to eliminate.

By developing comprehensive exercise programs surrounding the back extensors and maintaining correct spinal alignment and posture throughout we are benefitting our residents to decrease the possibility of micro-fractures occurring in the spine, and maximizing the benefits of exercise classes to achieve goals. Without keeping these elements in mind, we are putting our clients at risk of further developing micro fractures which may lead to diminished abilities and decreased independence.


Falls Prevention - Exercises for Osteoporosis
Falls Prevention - Exercises for Osteoporosis
Falls Prevention - Exercises for Osteoporosis
Falls Prevention - Exercises for Osteoporosis
Falls Prevention - Exercises for Osteoporosis


© Copyright 2021 - Jarlette Health Services | Website Designed by MediaSuite Inc.