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Seniors with trainer in gym at sport lifting barbell

4 Tips to Help Your Clients Reduce Their Risk of Falls

No matter how fit and healthy your older clients are, there is one thing that can change their lives forever: a bad fall. Every year, almost 1/3 of older adults fall and many cause injuries that will affect them the rest of their lives.

As a fitness professional, you need to be well-prepared to deliver the most effective fall prevention exercise programming to your clients. You can find excellent guidance on assessment and program design at www.mobilitymatters.fit. But you also should be providing advice to your clients on how to reduce their fall risk in other ways.

Have them do these and keep them on their feet!

1. Many falls happen outside where there are lots of potential hazards. Advise your clients to avoid walking on loose gravel, metallic/painted surfaces and cracked sidewalks and avoid being outdoors in bad weather (e.g., rain, sleet, snow). Appointments can always be rescheduled, but a trip to the ER should never be the reason!

2. Indoors, advise your clients to make sure that their path from the bedroom to the bathroom is free from obstructions (e.g., pet toys, rumpled rugs) prior to going to bed at night – that way a trip to the bathroom will not include a trip and a fall!

3. Advise your older female clients to never wear high heeled shoes outdoors. Put their heels in a canvas tote bag and walk outside in sneakers or flats instead. Nobody looks good falling, no matter how stylish the shoes!

4. In the bathroom, advise your older clients to line the floor of their shower/tub with textured adhesive strips. These are less likely to cause a slip or a trip than a rubber bath mat that might slip or bunch up. They also give a nice pedicure!

Are you a fitness professional interested in learning more on this topic? Check out Dr. Thompson’s 4 hour course with PTontheNet, Essentials of Older Adult Exercise Assessment and Program Design for Preventing Falls.


Christian Thompson, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of San Francisco and founder of Mobility Matters, an exercise assessment and program design platform designed to help fitness professionals and clinicians work with older adults. Christian has published scientific articles on exercise programming for older adults in peer-reviewed journals such as Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, and Journal of Applied Research.

baby-boomers2

Which exercise is most important for older adults?

As a kinesiologist who specializes in exercise programming for older adults, I am often asked which exercise is the most important to do regularly.

Well, you might not like my answer!  An older adult who wants to live an active and exciting life needs to be a “Jack Of All Trades” when it comes to exercise, making time for many different training techniques.  Here’s why:

As we get older, the aging process takes a toll on most physical functions, such as muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance.

A way to illustrate this is through “Aging Curves”. Look at this illustration (below) and see how function improves early in life as we grow and mature, then begins to decline during adulthood.  The amount of decline is not set in stone and is modified by our lifestyle choices.  Research has demonstrated that function declines more slowly in those who are physically active (red curve) and declines more rapidly in those who are sedentary (blue curve).  Without a doubt, staying active is the key to an active and exciting older adulthood!

However, there is no single exercise that benefits all parts of the body.  So, in order to keep any of our aging curves from plummeting to the disability threshold, we need to include exercises for cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength/power, flexibility, balance, and agility in our training programs. Or, put it in another way, we need to become a “Jack of All Trades”!

Are you a fitness professional interested in learning more on this topic? Check out Dr. Thompson’s 4 hour course with PTontheNet, Exercise Programming for Active Older Adults.


Christian Thompson, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of San Francisco and founder of Mobility Matters, an exercise assessment and program design platform designed to help fitness professionals and clinicians work with older adults. Christian has published scientific articles on exercise programming for older adults in peer-reviewed journals such as Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, and Journal of Applied Research.