Next month marks April Falls, a campaign that aims to raise awareness of falls prevention to help those at risk of falling stay on their feet. This year’s theme is ‘Better Balance for Falls Prevention’, and there are some great ways to do that for people on the Coast.

Having good balance reduces risk of trips and falls, allows us to stand, walk, climb stairs and do many day-to-day tasks that keep us active, healthy and independent.

Maintaining good balance can become more difficult as we grow older, however staying active not only helps prevent our muscles from getting weaker, but is great for our mental health too.

With lockdowns now a thing of the past, you may wish to take up activities such as tai chi, yoga or bowls, which are great for improving balance.

You could also join a local exercise program. Visit the NSW Health Active and Healthy website to find an exercise program near you: Simply type your suburb and how far you are prepared to travel, select the search button which will list all activities in that area.

There are also simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home to help your balance, like leg and heel raises.

Other simple steps to help with good balance include:

  • Talk your doctor or pharmacists about whether the medicines you take affect your balance.
  • Avoid sudden movements – get out of bed slowly (first sit up, then sit on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes before standing up) and take your time when changing positions, including getting up from a chair.
  • Wear well-fitted shoes with laces, buckles or Velcro fasteners with a low heel and good grip.
  • See a podiatrist if you have foot pain or foot problems.
  • Have regular health checks that include blood pressure and ear checks.
  • If you have a walking aid, use it. It’s important that the aid is set at the right height – an occupational therapist can assist.
  • Contact your doctor or physiotherapist to have them assess your balance.

If you don’t have access to a computer or the internet, or you would like further information and support, call the Central Coast Health Promotion team on 4320 9700.

This item has been adapted from an article originally written for GOALL (Growing Older and Loving Life) magazine.