Students and faculty in the Physical Therapy major are helping senior citizens increase their strength, power and flexibility as part of the “Step Up to Falls” program. Among older Americans, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths.
The 12-week long program is offered at the Southwest YMCA on the OCC campus. Students take turns leading seniors through a series of exercises. On the first Monday in March, student Katie Cordone was positioned in front of the class determining which exercises the group would do next. “Doing this is great experience for me and it’s a great way to get people to exercise more than they already are,” she said. Cordone is a freshman from St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She’s also on the College’s Women’s Lacrosse team.
The evidence this type of program is a crucial component of fall reduction is very promising. One study reviewed by the CDC concluded that, “Participants in an exercise program were two-thirds less likely to fall as compared to those who did not receive an exercise intervention.”