How to Avoid the Dangers from Falling
Falling can become a real problem especially as you age.
It is said that one third of those over the age of sixty five will fall at least once a year.
Over the age of eighty - and that can rise to fifty percent.
Accidents involving falling are the second biggest cause of death by accidental injury - only exceeded by road accidents.
And if people start to fear that they are at risk of falling, they may decide to go out and about less - and even become isolated and lonely.
That same fear has other repercussions
- It can can reduce someone's mobility.
- It can lead to a loss of muscle strength.
- How you move and walk can change so you become less stable.
- You become at even greater risk of falling.
How to find your feet!
There is a martial art that you can take up that embraces the practice of ukemi (safe falling). If you can attend such a course, it can teach you safer falling skills.
Here are the same of those ways in which you can learn to fall more safely according to experts.
Protecting your head
This is the first rule of falling. If you find yourself falling onto your back, try to remember to tuck your chin to your chest to stop it hitting the floor first. Tucking your chin to your chest can also prevent violent jolts to the head, and protect you from whiplash.
A second rule is if you are falling forwards, turn your head to the side to protect your nose.
Spreading your surface area
Most people when they fall, will instinctively thrust their arms out and these are the first parts of the body to get injured when hitting the ground. Instead, it is important to spread your fall over the biggest surface area possible.
If you fall backwards, as soon as your bottom hits the ground, then continue to roll backwards with the momentum. When your waistband touches the floor, you should bring your arms down, so that their full lengths make contact with the ground, and the shock is spread along them. If you can make a large surface area, you will dissipate the energy of the fall across it.
If you fall forwards, you should try to ensure the length of your forearm (from the fingertips to the elbow) will meet the ground flat so that not just your hands touch the ground.
Falling on your side
If you realise you are losing your balance and cannot correct it, then trying to fall on your side can mean the difference between landing on soft tissue rather than joints and bones. If you can aim for the side of your thigh, buttock and upper arm, you will hopefully end up in the recovery position. As you fall, ideally you should swing your arms to the side and bring them up to protect your face and cover your head.
Unfortunately, the higher the position from which you fall, the greater the risk of injury.
If you cannot correct your balance, try to fall almost as if in slow motion, lowering your centre of gravity intentionally. Bend your knees and elbows, keeping your feet on the floor if possible. Our instinct is to tense and brace for impact but if you can try to relax and release to the ground, it will lessen the impact of the fall. Think of yourself as a waterfall in action!
If you can tuck your chin to your chest, you can also help to prevent violent jolts to the head - even protecting you from whiplash.
There are vitamin supplements that can help reduce falls...
Research has found that taking vitamin D3 supplements can reduce the incidence of falls. Higher vitamin D levels are said to be associated with improved muscle function. In addition, vitamin B12 can improve any balance problems and difficulty in walking while including doses of fish oil or flax seed oil may also be helpful in reducing falls.
And exercises are helpful too
- As we get older, a lack of exercise puts us at greater risk of falling as well as increasing our risk of a poorer prognosis and recover if we should fall.
- Weight bearing exercises are very helpful to maintain bone strength with the addition of strengthening exercises to build muscle at least two or three times a week.
- Climbing stairs as often as possible is another suggestion.
- If you can gently raise and lower yourself into and out of a chair using the muscles in your lower body - the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves - this is very beneficial.
- Another exercise is to raise yourself up and down onto your tiptoes. Get into the habit when brushing your teeth or some other task to use this time as it will improve your calf muscle strength as well as balance and control.
- You can build up your neck strength by putting your chin to your chest a few times so that if you fall, you’ll be more able to tuck your chin in and protect your head.
Follow these suggestions to avoid the worst results from falling
If you can learn and follow some of these suggestions set out above, you may be able to cut back on some of the worst consequences should you fall. Learn techniques to keep you safer for longer.
You can follow the You Tube tutorial here to learn more...