Friday, May 20, 2016

Falling Friday - Fear Prevention

Falling.

When you are young, it is no big deal.

Frank Sinatra sang about it in the context of failure - pick yourself up, start all over again.

But, as you age, many have vision issues.  Then, you lose muscular strength.  Eventually, you may even lose the ability to pick yourself up if you fall.  Seniors become fearful.  They stop going out.  They lose their independence, sometimes just from fear of falling.

Experts say one of the leading reasons why we become more prone to falling is because we lose muscular strength in certain areas.  That is why so many anti-falling programs emphasize exercise.

This doesn't mean we have to work out at the gym for hours, either.  The program I participated in last year, Stepping On, recommended eight exercises. Four are done daily and four are done every other day (or, three times a week).

As always, a disclaimer:  if you are prone to falls, have a professional teach you the exercises.  I can't emphasize this enough.  This can be done by a trained instructor or a physical therapist. We were taught by trained instructors and two physical therapists.

I am not a qualified falls prevention instructor, so I turned to You Tube, and I found a video that has instructions for two of the exercises I do.  One, the "sit to stand", I was taught to do daily.  The other, the side leg raises, we do three times a week.
Our instructors taught us that many people do exercises too quickly.  For the "sit to stand" she recommended we pretend we were an elevator.  As we rose, she called out:  first floor! (pause briefly). Second floor! (pause briefly).  Third floor!  (Then the same, as we sat.  Slow and pause.  Slow and pause.

Could it be that exercise, which I hated so much when I was young, may just be the Fountain of Youth we have all be looking for?  Maybe not youth, but it may save us from a cause of decline all too common in seniors.  And that fear, which robs us of quality of life.


Do not go gentle into that good night.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, I've learned how these changes affect us.
    I've been hit (run over) on my bicycle scores of times. And, i just got up and walked away. (Mostly because the bicycle needed major repairs.)
    But last November, I hit a bump (ok, a pothole), and was done in. To protect my head and face, I used my hands as I always have. But, this time, I damaged the bones and tendons in my pointer and index finger. Which makes opening jars way more difficult nowadays.

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    1. My mother in law fell and broke both wrists when she was in her 60's. I dread what will happen the next time I fall, which is one reason why I took this class.

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  2. This is great! Thank you so much! I'm going to start doing these today. :)

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    1. I can not recommend these programs enough. I just hope it works.

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  3. I really need to look into doing these. It's never too soon to start on a good path.

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    1. It isn't. I learned that one the hard way, too.

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  4. Falling at 30 is no big deal. At 60, it's frightening. I tripped on an uneven pavement and landed face down in the street. I was in a state of shock. The mental trauma was worse than my scraped hands and knees. Now my eyes scan the pavement carefully, I wear sensible shoes and try to build muscle mass.

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    1. I fell the same way several years ago - the first of my falls, which is what finally ended me up in that class. In fact, ironically, that first fall was on a Friday.

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  5. When my dad retired, he started walking. He said that's what one of his aunts did, and she lived to a ripe old age. So, he walks. For 70 to 80 minutes a day. He's mapping out his city. Again. (He's already walked all the streets. He's on his third or fourth go around.)

    I see my future...

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    1. Or maybe not. But walking, although an excellent exercises, doesn't provide what you need for the muscles that help prevent falls. Neither did the water aeorbics I did for years. I learned that the hard way. So did my mother in law.

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  6. Use it or lose it. The less you move, the less you are able to move. It's a hard lesson to learn.

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