Falling down causes problems

Have you ever fallen? Ever slipped on the ice or tripped over toys? Most of us have, either in the house, or outside. There are those who have and those who will, it's just a matter of time. Why and how you fall is interesting. From observations and discussions with people I've come up with a few theories.

When you are a child, falling down is a natural part of learning, and you learn to relax and fall. And unless you're in a tree, you aren't that far from the ground anyway. It's when you are older that falling becomes detrimental to your health. Balance seems to slip slightly as you age, and any medication you take for maintaining a good, productive life can play a big part in your ability to balance.

Coordination is a large part of your balance. Using a cane, crutches or a walker are extended factors to deal with when you line up your body. The extra appendages matter when you balance. The same thing applies to carrying a weight of any kind. Anytime you add weight to your body, it changes your structure, coordination and balance.

A lot of falls happen around the home. Overconfidence in familiar surroundings with an item out of place, a wastebasket moved, light cords misplaced or a wrinkled throw rug will add to the chances of a surprise fall.

The fast-paced lives we lead today have too many tasks. Quick movements trying to accomplish these tasks can lead to turned ankles, wrenched knees and broken hips. These potential disasters can be lessened with a slower lifestyle and caution. Even the sight-impaired person learns to use slow movements. Turning too fast, feeling dizzy from medication, getting up too quickly, and bending down too long are all potentials for a fall.

Slow down and be more precise with your movements, especially at home where you tend to be more confident of your footing. Learn to recognize the conditions that contribute to a fall, and clear your home of possible causes. And if you do fall, relax and roll and try to take the impact of the fall over a large part of your body.

• Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.


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