Muscle strength is a key pillar to healthy ageing and independence, and BASScare’s exercise programs have dusted off the cobwebs & re-opened to the community after lockdown.

Falls are a big problem in Australia. They account for 37 per cent of injury-related deaths and 41 per cent of injury-related hospitalisations. Aside from the financial burden this puts on the country, there’s the loss of independence – and years – experienced by countless older Australians due to such mishaps.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only made this issue more acute. While the lockdown has been pivotal in halting the spread of infection, an unfortunate side effect has been a decrease in exercise and general physical activity. As people lead more sedentary, home based lifestyles, muscle mass, strength & balance can waste away leading to an increased risk of falls.

Certain safety measures around the home dampen the risk of a fall – walkers (and other mobility aids), hand rails, reducing tripping hazards, zero entries and other accessories. But one of the best and most effective safety measure is exercise. Balance, dense bones and strong joints are vital to minimise the risk of a fall related injury and promote the longevity of independence.

The role of muscle strength

It’s curious and unfortunate that the role of muscle in healthy ageing isn’t promoted in our society to anywhere near the degree it should be. Muscles are what give us mobility, enabling us as we age to continue doing the things we love, and all the necessities too, such as walking to the supermarket, using stairs and even just getting out of a chair safely.

While regular walks and other activities such as gardening are great for cardiovascular health, good muscle strength requires regular resistance based/strength workouts. Don’t be put off – this doesn’t mean purchasing an expensive gym membership and buying a wardrobe of Lycra. It really doesn’t take much to engage our muscles, the Australian recommendation is to complete at least two resistance based sessions per week, and everything we need to get started is already in our homes. Incorporating simple body weight exercises like chair squats, wall push-ups, hamstring curls, toe stands and arm raises into your daily routine is a brilliant way to encourage and keep muscle strength & mobility.

Exercise programs at BASScare

At BASScare, we understand entirely the life-giving benefits of strong muscle strength. We also understand the life-giving benefits of socialising, and that’s why we’ve decided to combine the two. Our range of exercise classes caters to all levels of ability and leaves no muscle group spared. These classes are a fantastic way to maintain mobility within a fun, engaging social setting.

We also offer one-on-one, personalised Allied Health sessions with our Accredited Exercise Physiologist. This program is a great way to get a complete understanding of where your physical health sits currently and what you can do to optimise your muscle strength, bone density & maintain your mobility.

There is also our comprehensive Falls Prevention program that runs over ~15 weeks, designed to improve balance, strength and confidence. You’ll learn some invaluable information about falls prevention strategies in the home & outside, as well as identify your starting level of fitness comparing that to changes by the completion of the program. You can incorporate these strategies to keep improving & stay upright.

Thankfully, the severe lockdown measures Melbourne has endured are showing results, and our suite of modified exercise programs are available once again. Most of us will have fallen prey to a certain degree of inactivity over the past several months, so now is the time to dust off the cobwebs & get active again.