Learning how to fall and get back up
According to the CDC, more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States and 20% to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. Physical therapists can help in risk reduction and prevention of falls. Fall prevention should be a staple in any older adults rehab or exercise program. This can consist of basic exercises to strengthening the legs; balance specific exercises and gait training which can all help minimize the chance of falls especially in older adults where eyesight, strength and balance all naturally decline with age. Things like diabetes and heart disease, deconditioning, injuries or pain and other disease process can further progress that decline. A well designed and regularly performed strength, conditioning and balance program can help slow that natural decline and improve safety and independence as a person ages.
On top of focusing on fall prevention there are ways to learn how to fall to try to minimize serious injury as well as learning how to get up after a fall provided no serious injury occurred. The ability to reduce serious injury with falls as well as get up after fall is important for anyone as they age. When a person falls there is minimal time to think about things, which is why practicing some of these techniques can help make them more reflexive in nature. Learning how to move your body in a way to better disperse the forces when hitting the ground can make a big difference on what the result of a fall may be. In my opinion learning how to get down and get back up off of the ground should be a necessary skill for anyone regardless of age. It is something we all tend to take for granted at every age level but can have a big impact on our well-being
Below are some basic tips to keep in mind with falling:
Keep your head up,
Quickly slap ground with palms out in front of you, don’t lock arms,
Fold your body (like an accordion!),
Tuck chin down,
Squat – Bend hips and knees,
Keep arms out to the side,
Slap palms on ground behind you, don’t lock arms,
Grab opposite hip,
Roll onto back,
Slap ground with free hand don’t lock arm,
The biggest take away from this advice is protect your head and neck and try to roll into a fall or control your fall rather than locking up and stay rigid. The best way to do this is learning how to control your body to the ground as well as how to get back up and practicing that on a regular basis under proper supervision.
I am also including news story below about Elliott Royce, a 95 year old man who practices falling every day and goes around teaching other seniors how to do the same. More evidence that age is just a number and you can be independent and functional well into you later years of life.
Check out the article on Elliot Royce below:
Again before practicing these on your own or starting a fall prevention program it is best to get some guidance from a qualified medical professional. At Guidry Physical Therapy fall prevention is one of the many services we provide to the community so if you feel like this may be something you can benefit from give us a call at 985 882 8427. Remember this article is for information purposes only. Please do not try any of the techniques discussed in this article without proper guidance form a qualified medical professional. For more advice don't forget to follow us on Facebook at:
John Paul Guidry DPT CSCS TPI