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How to Assess Your Fall Risk

Are you struggling with balance and worry it’ll increase your risk of falling?

Maintaining good balance is crucial for everyday activities and preventing falls, especially as we age.

Try this simple, at-home assessment to better gauge your fall risk.

Determine Your Risk of Falling

In the video below, Physical Therapist Chris Ponichtera, PT DPT, explains the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, how to perform it, and how it provides insight into your risk of falling.

Performing a TUG Test

Before performing a TUG test, it’s important to note that if you use an ambulatory device like a cane or walker for everyday mobility, you should also use the device while taking the test.

To begin, start by sitting in a chair. Your feet should be flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart.

Start the timer and stand up from the chair. You can also have someone help time you.

Walk as quickly and safely as possible for ten feet. When you hit ten feet, turn around and walk back to the chair.

Sit back down in the chair with controlled movement, making sure not to fall or “plop” into the chair.

Stop the timer.

Generally, a time of 12 seconds or more indicates an increased risk of falls.

If you find that you have difficulty performing the TUG test or have a time that suggests an increased risk of falls, reaching out to a Physical or Occupational Therapist is advised.

A therapist can evaluate your balance and mobility further and develop a personalized plan to reduce your risk of falling.

Want help improving your balance?

Sign up for the 2023 YMCA Wellness Series! Our Physical and Occupational Therapist-led “Find Your Balance” class will teach you what comprises balance, exercises to improve balance and mobility, and how to reduce external factors that cause falls.

Registration is free, all classes are held online, and you’ll receive exercise guides to help you create your personal wellness plan.

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