The short answer is NO! Unfortunately, social norms have led many people to believe this:
- When young, it’s easy to exercise
- When middle aged, it’s important to exercise
- When older, we simply must accept our fate!
Individuals would be better served if walkers were used in the same temporary fashion as crutches. It is important and smart to use walkers when feeling unstable. However, investigating the cause of the imbalance is extremely important. long-term walker usage leads to lost strength and “muscle weakness” which results in shuffling the feet, bent posture, falls, shorter walks, etc.
BEST SCENARIO: When a walker is prescribed, begin functional leg-strength training. Regaining and maintaining adequate leg strength helps individuals improve their balance, reduce fear of falling and increases confidence and independence. Soon the walker is NO LONGER NEEDED!