Falls are the leading cause of injury-based deaths among seniors, and that percentage has risen sharply in the last decade.
Outcomes Linked to Falls
The Center for Disease Control reports these common aftermaths:
- Twenty to thirty percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures or head trauma. Those injuries can make it difficult to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
- Most fractures experienced by seniors are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
- Many people who fall, even if they aren't injured, develop a fear of falling that may cause them to limit their activities, which in turn leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness. With reduced fitness, the likelihood of falls increases.
I'd been certain my BIG program was helping, a feeling confirmed when vertebrae injuries from my August auto accident curtailed my exercises, and I felt the resulting impact. Last month, my back doctor gave me the OK to resume most of the exercises. I hope I'll be cleared to begin doing all of them soon.
Getting that OK to resume the exercises and actually doing them are two different things. So I've developed a gimmick that also helps address another of my concerns: spending too much time glued to my desk chair. Recent studies have shown that too much sitting is bad for your health, even if you also get plenty of exercise.
Exercise: Physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent falls. My BIG exercises help me, and so do other balance exercises I've discovered -- like standing on one foot for as long as I can, walking heel-to-toe across the room, and getting up and down from my chair ten or 20 times. Strength training, stretching, yoga and tai chi are often recommended. I plan to see if my local senior center offers tai chi.
You might want to check out the Exercise Guide from the National Institute on Aging.
What Has Worked for You?
Preventing falls is a major concert for most of us. I'd love to hear any tips or suggestion you have. Just click the comment button.