Senior Health and Fitness Day Brings Awareness About Fall-Related Injuries

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Several years ago, Walter Godfrey suffered from a stroke that altered his sense of balance and his ability to completely function.

But the 91 year old who still hits the gym says exercising helped to change that.

"When I get on a regular schedule, then physically and mentally I feel a lot better," said Walter Godfrey who works out at the YMCA.

Research shows that every 35 minutes, an older adult dies from fall related injuries.

But what's especially tragic is that many of those falls can be prevented through several simple steps.

"Taking supplements, seeing your doctor regularly to make sure what your bone density, your bone mass your ratio of fat to muscle," said Tonia Mitchell, Senior Group Fitness instructor for the YMCA in Tallahassee.

Health professionals also say regular check-ups and vision exams can help in preventing a fall.

By the year 2020, the annual cost for fall related injuries is expected to reach more than 43 million dollars, so needless to say taking preventative measures is well worth the investment.

The Tallahassee Senior Center urges residents who live alone to do what it calls senior proofing the home.

"Night lights help, moving your furniture around grab bars are great and we have services that provide assistance they'll give you tips and pointers on what you can do in your home to make it safer," said Nikki Fregger of the Tallahassee Senior Center.

Fregger also says the center offers balance screenings, podiatrist exams, as well as canes, walkers and wheelchairs at no cost to seniors.

But officials say eating right and staying active are easy ways to lead a healthy, independent life.

"Everybody should do it but it's just the older you get the more you need to eat, the more you need to keep working out," said Tonia Mitchell.

And that's exactly what Godfrey plans to keep on doing.