Why can I run badly?

Gait disorders: which exercises help?

Status: 08/27/2019 12:15 p.m. | archive

Gait insecurity, also known as gait anomaly, is one of the most common complaints in old age. Many of those affected are restricted in their everyday lives as a result. Unsteady gait is often a cause of falls. One reason for insecurity when walking is the breakdown of muscles, which begins as early as the age of 30. Muscle loss is accelerated by a lack of exercise. In many cases, special exercises can train the muscles and balance and thereby improve the gait pattern.

Factors for a safe walk

A safe gait depends on motor skills such as strength, endurance, flexibility and dexterity. Also important are:

  • healthy muscles and joints
  • Sensory perception with eyes and ears
  • Functionality of the nerves
  • Signal processing in the brain
  • Performance of the heart and lungs
  • cognitive performance

Causes of gait disorders in old age

Uncertainties in gait are often a result of

  • Disturbances of balance and movement
  • sensory deficits, such as a special disease of the inner ear (vestibulopathy) or a sensory disorder in the feet (polyneuropathy)
  • Visual disturbances
  • Vertigo, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Diseases of the cerebellum
  • Use of sedative or antihypertensive medication

For many of those affected, the fear of falling increases the unsteadiness of walking and leads to pronounced avoidance behavior, which can lead to further muscle loss.

Treat gait disorders in old age

The therapy for gait disorders depends on the underlying causes. An accurate medical diagnosis is important. Useful treatments are, for example:

  • motor-cognitive training
  • psychological support for fear of falls
  • Strength training
  • Balance training

Strength training strengthens the muscles

Strength training ensures that the muscles are built up and maintained. Those affected should go to their limits during training. Short, strenuous training units with several repetitions lead to the muscles building up optimally. For healthy older people, three to four training sessions of 30 minutes each are recommended per week.

Simple Strengthening exercises, recommended by the Network Aging Research Heidelberg, can be easily integrated into everyday life:

For people over 70

  • Tandem stand (one foot in front of the other)
  • Tandem course
  • Squats
  • One-legged stance

For those over 60 years of age, too

  • stand on tiptoe
  • take two steps at a time
  • Skip objects (stone, leaf) when walking
  • Balance exercises

Exercises for a better balance

Balance training in the group usually takes place with the help of special exercise equipment such as tilt boards and soft mats. Simple exercises for home:

  • Fix the target: Fixate a point while sitting or standing, alternately tilting the head back and forth or to the right and left without losing sight of the fixed point.
  • Stand up: Get up from a chair and sit down alternately with your eyes open and closed.
  • Index finger nose test: Fix the index finger of the outstretched arm and bring it to the nose without losing sight of the finger.
  • Rotate upper body: Rotate the trunk alternately to the right and left, both with closed and open eyes
  • Tightrope walk: Walk along a straight line, put your feet in front of each other and turn your head to the right and left.

What helps against dizziness?

Those who suffer from vertigo attacks often spend years looking for the cause and a helpful therapy. There are many reasons for dizziness. Medication, exercise, and distraction can help. more

Avoid dangerous falls in old age

The risk of falling increases with age. Common consequences are broken bones and cerebral haemorrhage. Those who train coordination and strength can avoid dangerous falls. more

Experts on the subject

Dr. Helge Riepenhof
Head Physician Center for Rehabilitation Medicine / Interdisciplinary Sports Medicine
BG Hospital Hamburg
Bergedorfer Strasse 10, 21033 Hamburg

Dr. Silja Strauss
Head of the vertigo day clinic
Department of ear, nose and throat medicine, head and neck surgery, plastic surgery
Asklepios Clinic St. Georg
Lohm├╝hlenstrasse 5
20099 Hamburg

Merle Schulz
Vestibular therapist
Asklepios Clinic St. Georg
Lohm├╝hlenstrasse 5
20099 Hamburg

Sergio Carillo
Asklepios Clinic St. Georg
Lohm├╝hlenstrasse 5
20099 Hamburg

This topic in the program:

Visit | 08/27/2019 | 8:15 pm