PLEASE NOTE: I am not a health professional. For your own safety, be sure to talk with your own health professional before starting any kind of balance routine.
I have been jogging since my early thirties. When I turned sixty, I realized I’d slowed down quite a bit. I also started to stumble on occasion. Then one day, I slipped and fell on a gravel path. I convinced myself that anyone could have fallen on loose gravel, so I didn’t think much of it. (I was just relieved that no one was around to see me fall.) A couple of weeks later, I tripped while jogging on a sidewalk. After a few more falls, I became alarmed. What was happening to me?
It Could Never Happen to Me!
I’d read about the risk of falling after a certain age and had seen ‘those advertisements where someone was on the floor crying out, “Help, help, I can’t get up.” But I somehow figured I was different. I had always been active. On top of that, I hadn’t really accepted the idea that I was getting older. Yet, it turns out that falls do become a lot more likely for all of us as we age.
Reports suggest falls are the top cause of accidental death for people 65 and older. According to one article, an older adult dies every 19 minutes from a fall. In part, we are likely to have falls as our vision and hearing changes. People with diabetes may also have an increased risk of falling. If we do fall, we are more likely to experience injuries (beyond our pride) because our bones become more brittle as we age.
The Key to Staying Active and On My Feet
After having a couple of worrisome falls, I did talk to an expert (who happens to be my daughter-in-law) about how to prevent falls. My daughter-in-law has a doctorate in physical therapy and has no doubt helped countless people stay on their feet. She told me that the number one thing we should all be doing as we age is to work on our balance. She said a good way to start is to stand in a corner with two walls available for helping us keep our balance.
I started working on my balance by holding up one foot and then the other. After a while, I could lift one foot off the ground and hold it for a couple of minutes. Then I could do the same with the other foot. Eventually, I could lift either leg in all directions and hold my position. I even work on my balance when the dog is out in the field doing his business.
The Importance of Turning a Routine into a Daily Discipline
I don’t want to fall, break a hip, or something worse. I know that prevention is my best insurance against something that could be devastating for me.
If you don’t already have a regular balance routine, you can check out some suggestions and watch a couple of short videos by clicking on this Silver Sneakers article.