Ways To Help Prevent Winter Falls
December 30, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
MELROSE PARK, Ill., Dec. 29 (UPI) — About 1 million fall-related U.S. injuries are reported each year but an exercise physiologist says there are ways to help prevent falls.
Mike Ross, author of “The Balance Manual” and exercise physiologist at Gottlieb Center for Fitness, part of Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said some bodily changes due to age are unavoidable and may affect personal safety.
“Balance deteriorates as we get older due to the weakening of muscles and change in sensory perception, especially in the ear structure. Equilibrium, or balance, is largely determined by the inner ear and the brain,” Ross said in a statement.
He said many falls can be avoided, or the impact minimized, by applying a few basic strategies.
— Examine your shoes and boots. Better traction can help keep you more stable on icy surfaces.
— Keep a shovel and salt in your house.
— Check the railings and determine whether they are sturdy enough to support you if you slipped.
— If you fall, it can be hard to get up so carry a cell phone whenever you go outside.
— Slow down. If you hurry that you end up pushing the limits of your sense of balance.
— Ask for help. If you have to walk across an icy sidewalk or parking lot, try to find a steady arm to lean on.
— Strong leg muscles can help you steady yourself if you slip. And if you do fall, they make it a lot easier to get back up. Do a set of 10 squats out of a chair a couple of times per week.