Take These Tips On Maintaining Balance
And Keep Yourself Upright And Grounded.
We’re all likely to fall at some point, no matter how old we are. But it is possible to lower your risk of falling and, more important, reduce your chances of seriously injuring yourself when you do fall down. How? By being more physically active.
You may still fall down occasionally, even if you’re in good shape and have great balance. It might not seem right that being on the move actually increases your risk of falling, while at the same time makes you less likely to injure yourself. But it does make sense: Sitting around all the time, even if you’re doing it because you’re afraid of falling, makes you more likely to be seriously injured when you do fall.
6 Tips To Help Prevent Falls
1 Get moving. Being active on a daily basis may be the most important thing you do to keep from falling. You’ll want to include daily strengthening, balance, and flexibility exercises, and stay as healthy as you can.
2 Pretend you’re a stork. The exercises you do to improve your balance can be as simple as standing on one leg at a time. First, hold on to something stable with one or both hands, and then stay upright without holding on to anything. When you feel comfortable like this, try the same thing again with your eyes closed instead of open. You’ll have better balance if you also work on the strength of your legs and core. A good, inexpensive way to do this is with planks, lunges, and other exercises that use your body weight as resistance.
3 Add padding to your hips. If you’re prone to falls, wearing hip pads can soften your landings and can lower your risk of fracturing your hips when you do fall. Because hip fractures can easily shorten your life, do whatever you can to prevent them.
4 Take simple precautions. Reduce your risk of falling by making sure there’s enough light in your house, especially at night. You’ll also want to be sure that your shoes fit well, that your vision is as good as it can be (with better glasses or cataract removal, if you need it), and that you rest when you’re tired. It is also very important to get rid of any floor clutter or uneven rugs.
5 Consider your feet. Anything that affects how well you walk can make you fall. Bunions, calluses, and deformed toes all increase your risk of falling. Don’t wear wobbly high-heeled shoes if you want to stay on your feet. It is very important that you inspect your feet daily for problem areas, especially if you’ve lost some feeling in them.
6 Try not to rush. If you rush to make it to the bathroom, you might fall. The more times you have to get up at night to urinate, the more likely you are to fall. Try not to drink so much fluid that you have to race to the bathroom as you age (and wear Depend underwear if you have trouble making it in time).
By Sheri Colberg, PhD