Physical activity is a key component in any fall prevention program along with home and environment modification, vision, and medication management. The First Step to Active Health® physical activity program was developed by a multi-disciplinary collaboration of physicians, therapists, and researchers in response to a “call to action” to develop toolkits for healthcare providers to prescribe physical activity programs for their patients.

The First Step to Active Health is a multi-component, well-rounded exercise program including strength, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular activities designed specifically for older adults to exercise at home. The First Step to Active Health kit features a Thera-Band® resistance band, color photos and large print in easy-to-use instructions. The program manual includes behavioral change tools including goal-setting, social support, and active choices. More details on the program are available at www.FirstStepToActiveHealth.com.

Dr. Michael Rogers, chair of the exercise science department at Wichita State University, was involved in the development of the First Step to Active Health kit and was recently involved in developing a fall-risk reduction toolkit for the state of Kansas, the Falling Less in Kansas (Falling LinKS) toolkit. Dr. Rogers also developed and researched an evidence-based fall prevention exercise program with Thera-Band products, Standing Strong.

Through interviews and qualitative research, the Falling LinKS initiative created a low-cost fall reduction and awareness toolkit that integrates community participation with currently available evidence-based strategies to meet the needs of older adults particularly in rural Kansas. Specifically, the toolkit addressed the 4 components of fall prevention recommended by the CDC: exercise, vision, medication, and home modification. The Falling LinKS initiative chose the First Step to Active Health program to address the exercise component of fall prevention because of the lack of availability of “geriatric-specific balance and strength training programs” in Kansas.

The Falling LinKS toolkit can be downloaded for free here.

REFERENCE: Radebaugh TS, et al. 2011. Falling Less in Kansas: Development of a Fall Risk Reduction Toolkit. Journal of Aging Research. 2011(532079). 7pp. doi:10.4061/2011/532079

Visit the First Step to Active Health Learning Portal here

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