Harvard Women's Health Watch

Simple exercises to prevent falls

Strengthen supporting muscles and hone your balance to avoid a tumble.

This year, one out of every three people ages 65 and older will experience a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, many of them will fracture a hip or sustain another potentially life-threatening injury.

Along with broken bones and other physical harms, falls can produce more subtle damage. "The less obvious harmful consequence of a fall is a fear of falling again," says Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. This fear may limit your physical activities, and increase your risk of developing chronic diseases. It also can inhibit your social life, and possibly even lead to depression, she adds. Finally, limiting activities can lead to weaker muscles and poor balance—which only make future falls more likely.

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