On my birthday earlier this week, I was listening to the radio while driving and an ad for a company that installs walk-in showers came on. I wasn’t paying much attention until the announcer stated that “if you were born in 1968 or before, you are at greater risk of falling when trying to get into a bathtub.”
Wait. What? Is this guy suggesting I am decrepit at the ripe old age of 53? I was truly offended! How dare ANYONE suggest that I am less than prime? The nerve...
And it is a bit nervy because for people in relatively good health, the risk of falling while doing normal household things – like bathing- actually doesn’t increase substantially until the age of 65.
The prevalence of falling after age 65 is due to many health factors, including decreased balance, a loss of bone density, side effects of medications, deteriorating eyesight, and weakening core strength, to name just a few.
But the good news is that you don’t turn 65 and just start falling down. There are things you can do now to decrease your risk of falling as you age.
According to researchers at The Center for Physical Activity and Aging, the biggest predictor of falling is a person’s balance. If you cannot stand on one foot without beginning to sway, now is the time to work on balance.
There are many physical fitness programs available to Arizonans, including the Matter of Balance program offered by AT Still University and others in the Phoenix metro area. These programs teach participants how to maintain core strength and correct any balance issues.
Participating in Tai Chi or Yoga exercises are great ways to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve balance. Both are low impact and help build and maintain core strength and good posture, which can deteriorate with age.
Whatever you do, stay active! Take a walk in this glorious fall weather. Do a little gardening. Toss a ball for your dog. Anything to stay active is helpful!
Although I was offended to be called old, it did make me realize that I haven’t been getting as much exercise as I should and that I have fallen off the yoga wagon. So, my goal for year 53 is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and dust off the yoga mat three times a week. I can tell my core has gotten a bit weaker and I can only stand on one foot for about 45 seconds before I start to wobble. So now I am determined to NOT be a fall statistic. I encourage you all to set your own fitness goals, so you can avoid the pain and suffering that often accompanies a fall injury.