I fell this morning.
Correction: I tripped and fell. While I was running. I’m okay, thanks for asking. Just a bit stiff and sore, but I’ll survive. No broken bones and I thankfully didn’t hit my head, so no concussion either.
Here’s how it (I) went down: It was early. It was dark. I was tired. I didn’t notice the uneven sidewalk. I didn’t lift my foot up enough—I was tired, remember? And then it happened.
It happened so fast, I didn’t even realize I was falling. So I didn’t have time to try and prevent myself from hitting the pavement at full force. All of a sudden, I was on the ground thinking to myself, “What just happened?!”
That’s the problem with falling: when it happens, it happens fast. You often don’t have enough time to react. And as we get older, our reaction times slow down even more. Coupled with the fact that our bones can become more brittle, falls in older adults can be life-altering. In some cases, falls can be life-threatening.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), falls account for 80% of seniors’ injury hospitalizations. Those same seniors make up half of the injury hospitalizations in Canada. That means when a senior falls, they’re more likely to be severely injured. And if you’ve fallen once, you’re more likely to fall a second time within the next 18 months.
These life-altering falls reduce a person’s independence—they often can no longer stay living in their own home.
What’s the solution? Avoid falling. I’m not being facetious: fall prevention is a big deal and can mean the difference between injury, hospitalization, even death. Simple exercises that don’t require special equipment, fancy clothing, or sweating. They can be done in your own home. Ideally, they should be done every day to improve balance, coordination, and mobility. These exercises increase muscle and bone strength, as well as posture—which is important to avoid a momentum-based fall.
Not sure where to start? I’ve published 5 books of balance exercises for fall prevention:
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Amanda Sterczyk is an international author, Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), an Exercise is Medicine Canada (EIMC) Fitness Professional, and a Certified Essentrics® Instructor.