Fit and Fall Proof™
Fit and Fall Proof™ instructor training.
Fit and Fall Proof™ is a free fitness program designed to strengthen older adults so they fall less. More than 937 fall-related calls in the Panhandle Health District in 2010 were from people age 65 and older. Ninety-four percent of those people were taken to the hospital. Idaho's fall rate is nearly 1.5 times the national rate and more than 75 percent of the people who die from falls are 65 and older. Nearly twice as many women as men fell in the five northern counties in 2010 and the majority of those women were in their 80s.
"Injuries from falls and the fear of falling lead older adults to limit their activities, which can interfere with independent living. But we know that falls are not inevitable," said Dr. Ileana Arias, director of CDC's Injury Center.
How does Fit and Fall Proof™ help?
Fit and Fall Proof™ grew out of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's determination to reduce the number of crippling falls among Idaho's older residents. In 2004, Health and Welfare asked two college professors to design a program. Their creation, Fit and Fall Proof™, provides seniors with moderate-intensity exercises taught by a fit older adult in a group setting that offers new social contacts.
With a grant from Health and Welfare, the Panhandle Health District started Fit and Fall Proof™ classes in 2005. They were so popular that PHD couldn't train class leaders fast enough to meet class demand.
Functional Fitness is Fit and Fall Proof's™ goal. Functional Fitness helps older adults:
- Maintain an independent, freely functioning lifestyle.
- Stay vital through good muscular strength, enabling them to lift grandchildren, etc.
- Achieve the flexibility to bend over and tie shoes or reach items on shelves.
- Reduce the risk of falling through better balance and posture.
- Improve reaction time, gait speed and stability.
"I was walking with a cane when I started Fit and Fall Proof™. I had stopped traveling because I couldn't walk. The class gave me strength and confidence. Last year, I traveled to Alabama, Anaheim and Boise and left my cane at home."
Priscilla Spivey, Coeur d'Alene
Seated calf press in Fit and Fall Proof™
How Fit and Fall Proof™ works
- Classes are free
- They meet in churches, senior centers, community centers, fire stations and more in towns and cities throughout the five northern counties.
- Most classes meet at least twice a week for 45-60 minutes each time.
- PHD's Fit and Fall Proof™ program offers more than 20 class sites.
- Nearly 1,000 people participate in PHD's Fit and Fall Proof™ classes every year.
- Participant progress is evaluated using the "Get Up and Go" timed test.
Who is eligible to participate?
Classes target people in the 65-plus age range but are open to others if space is available. Participants are responsible for their own travel to the class sites.
- Physically fit and independent
- Moderately physically limited - people who may have chronic conditions such as arthritis or hearing and vision limits that raise concerns about falling.
- Physically frail - people with medical conditions that impair balance and/or mobility, may use assistive devices and have limited range of motion and strength.
Exercises are adapted to fit varying abilities.
Who teaches the Fit and Fall Proof™ classes?
Leaders are energetic older adults who undergo training in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Fit and Fall Proof™ curriculum. All leaders are certified after they successfully complete the training. The training includes:
- Adapting exercises for different physical abilities and limitations
- First aid
- Barriers and motivations to exercise
- Measuring improvement
- How NOT to exercise
- Much more
For class information in your area, call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1 or Lisa Gardom, coordinator, at 415-5242.