How You Can Decrease Your Chances of Falling this April FallsApr 01, 2021
No - April Falls is not a typo! It’s a nationwide initiative that is on a mission to help build awareness about the impact of falls, particularly for our older population. A fall, even a minor one, can be the start of a downward spiral into injury, pain, complications, hospitalisation, and loss of confidence and independence.
Every year one in three people over 65 will fall, and for those over 80 the statistic is one in two.
But we’ve got some good news for you! Although our bodies decline with age, we could still move better in our 70s, 80s and 90s than you may expect. With just a bit of awareness you could feel stronger and more physically confident than you thought possible for your golden years.
We may do our best by going to a gym or exercise class or simply staying active by walking, gardening or running around after our children or grandchildren, and yet most of us don’t really understand how to move well through our day, and this makes us susceptible to falls.
We need to become more aware of how we breathe, sit, stand, walk and move in our work, hobbies and daily activities. Although every one of us is unique, here are a couple of points that may help you better understand what you can do to improve your strength and balance.
Think of a crane on a building site. For a crane to twist, turn and lift, its base needs to be secure, and the same goes for us. Our base however is not our legs but is in fact our torso – from our hips to our armpits. We should ensure our base is secure before moving by drawing our belly into our spine, squeezing our glutes (butt cheeks) together, and pulling the front and back of our ribcage evenly down toward our hips. To further enhance this, we should keep our chest up and shoulders down. If we do this every time we move, we create a counter-balance drawing us back to our base and keeping us stable and secure.
Another vital point is NOT locking our knees when we stand. Locked knees put pressure on our lower back and knees and make our leg muscles lazy. Keeping our knees soft will ensure our muscles stay “switched on” and be ready to react when we stumble – because we will all stumble at some point.
Lastly, we should squeeze our butt cheeks together when we stand up out of our chair. We should use our butt cheeks to drive our hips forward and help us to stand strongly and confidently.
SuperCue Seniors has a helpful tutorial on YouTube to help you maximise these little changes and keep you on your feet. Click on the link or search for SuperCue Seniors Technique tips for getting out of a chair - YouTube
By Marya Hopman – Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, founder of OptimalMe Fitness and co-founder of seniors exercise providers SuperCue Seniors
As featured in Seasons Magazine's April 2021 Issue
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