20% fewer people going to hospital due to falls in Worcestershire than the rest of England

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Corn Dollies WI stretch out with resistance bands

Recent data shows hospital admissions due to falls among those aged 65 and over have reduced in Worcestershire.

The rate in the county is now nearly 20% lower than the national rate and continues to decrease every year according to the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

The Council’s Public Health Team has been running a specialised programme since 2020 which encourages older residents to look after their strength, balance and mobility by using resistance bands.

Recently this programme received an iESE Certificate of Excellence from the Public Sector Transformation Awards and is also a finalist at the UK National GO Awards in the Social Value category.

More than 40,000 resistance bands have since been provided to people over the age of 50 in Worcestershire. And over 40 organisations were trained to deliver resistance band exercises to hundreds of classes. This has never been done before at this scale locally or regionally. The exercises were created in partnership with Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire.

Resistance bands have been used by many local groups including the Corn Dollies from Claines in Worcester.

Mo Wood, the Vice President of the Corn Dollies, started holding resistance bands exercise sessions at the group in September after meeting the Living Well for Longer team.   

Mo Wood, Vice President of the Corn Dollies branch of the Women’s Institute said: “I want to keep living well as I grow older and I can see that keeping moving does make a difference. So I decided that our WI ladies would benefit from doing something in a non-threatening environment. Something they could take away and continue doing at home while you're watching the television. Have a few stretches and you do feel much better.” 

Stephen Brewster, Chief Executive Officer of Active Herefordshire & Worcestershire added: “When we think of exercising, we automatically think of running or cycling. That is important, but, we have to also think about our muscle strength, especially as we get older. Using a resistance band is a great way to retain our physical strength. Just ten minutes a day helps to build up strength in our arms and our legs and this will also help to improve our balance. We are proud to be part of this initiative.”

Councillor David Ross, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council said: “It’s been wonderful to hear of the impact that the resistance bands have had on reducing the number of people going to hospital due to having a fall, and how much better they feel from exercising regularly. Our Public Health team do a fantastic job of supporting our residents and I’m really pleased that their work has been recognised by the Public Sector Transformation Awards and the UK National GO Awards.”

The programme was evaluated by the University of Worcester, and significant improvement was found to physical fitness and wellbeing in participants who regularly used resistance bands.

Resistance bands and an exercise guide can still be collected from any Worcestershire library by residents who are over the age of 50. You can find out more on the Living Well for Longer pages of the County Council website.

You can also now track your progress over 12 weeks by using our new online assessment to see how you have improved.

Public health team pose with IESE Certificate