Read on to see how to best avoid a fall, and how to get yourself back up!
Most of us have probably known someone who has fallen. Whether it be a relative, neighbor or yourself. Either slipping on the ice, or tripping on thick carpet, falls can lead to both physical and mental damage (the fear of falling can be greater than falling itself.) With October being national falls awareness month, we here at Gold Medal PT felt it would be useful to give you a few tips to prevent falls and show you how to get up after you have fallen. You’ll see attached at the bottom of the page a free falls self-assessment tool, this will give you an idea of your risk for falling.
Here we go…
- Monitoring your environment is crucial in preventing falls. Making sure you are keeping your living area and walkways clear of debris. The more obstacles you have in the way creates a greater chance of you going down. Understand that different floors require different footwear and walking strategies. If you have thick carpets, focus on picking your feet up, this helps to prevent your feet from catching. If you have hardwood floors, make sure you are not walking around in socks, as this could lead to slipping. Can’t see a thing? Proper lighting is very important and often overlooked. Our vision is one of the main systems that helps to keep us upright, poor lighting takes this out of the equation and leads to tripping or bumping into objects.
- Do you exercise each day? As we age our muscles atrophy (waste away) making it harder for your legs to keep you upright. A good exercise program that focuses on building your leg strength will help prevent your knees from giving out, and help you stand up straight. Get in the habit of maintaining and improving your flexibility. Having tightness in your hips and legs can cause altered walking patterns and make it difficult for you to recover if you begin to lose your step. Work on your balance with exercises that challenge your base of support. Drills such as standing on one leg or standing with your eyes closed, challenge your internal systems more, thus making daily ambulation and standing much easier.
- Invest in your posture. Do a self assessment and check your posture. Are you standing upright? Are your shoulders rounded? Is your head tilted down? Changes in our posture even on the top end can change how various forces are interacting with our body. If you’re naturally leaning further forward, the tendency to fall forward will be greater, because that is the direction your body is naturally leaning.
I hope these tips help, please share them with friends and family members. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’d like a customized exercise program or need some guidance on improving your balance.
We are here to help you!
Access the Falls Risk Assessment here:
Here is a link to a video we have found helpful to teach you how to get up after you have fallen: