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6 Tips To Staying On Your Feet And Avoid A Fall

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Zoomed in shot of a woman's feet, her right foot has a caste and she's holding walkers

What’s the one thing that can ruin the best-laid vacation plans – besides rain?

From personal experience, I’ll tell you…

Someone in your group takes a fall.

For almost 35 years, my college pals and I have been taking an annual weekend getaway to a sunny destination. This year, we chose Florida, with its warm weather and beautiful beaches. We rented a beach house on the Gulf and stocked up on food, drinks, and sunscreen.

As always, we were overjoyed to see each other. On the first day, we hugged, and laughed until we cried, took walks along the beach, and lounged in the sun.

Our friend Linda had brought a new pair of strappy sandals that she was excited to wear. Unfortunately, they were not designed for walking, which we quickly realized when Linda tripped up the stairs from the beach to the house and fell on the hard cement. 

Poor Linda, all battered and bruised, could hardly keep herself upright. As we inched our way to the house, lending a shoulder each, we couldn’t help but wonder if a trip to the hospital was in the cards. Linda, of course, insisted she was fine – not wanting to rain on our weekend parade. 

But as a sand-in-the-eye irritation increased and Linda struggled to maintain her footing, we knew it was time to make our way to the emergency room.

Lucky for Linda, she managed to dodge any major harm. She was diagnosed with a minor concussion, and the ER doc cleared the sand out of her eyes.

Needless to say, our yearly getaway didn’t go as planned. 

Instead of playing pickleball and walking the length of the beach, we stayed in the house, taking turns entertaining Linda with stories and games. 

I realize that as we age, these weekend getaways are less about going out and having fun and more about spending quality time with each other.

I also realize that as I approach my 60s, much more care and caution must be paid to avoid injuries. 

When it was time to leave, Linda apologized for ruining the weekend. 

We assured her that we’d all had a great time anyway and that the most important thing was that we were all together. As we hugged goodbye, everyone promised we would do it again next year and ensure everyone wore appropriate shoes.

Staying On Your Feet

As you age, you may still feel young and capable of doing the things you did in your youth. However, your body undergoes changes that can increase the risk of falls. 

Woman holding her sprained ankle

And when you reach your 60s and take a hard fall, you’re at much greater risk for serious injury than a younger person. The impact of the fall can cause fractures or dislocations, particularly in areas such as the hip, wrist, and ankle. These injuries take longer to heal and can lead to a loss of mobility or reduced independence. 

Additionally, the psychological impact of a fall can also be significant, as it can lead to fear of falling and a decrease in activity levels. Reducing exercise and movement can further increase your risk of falls and negatively impact overall health and well-being.

Fortunately, no matter your age, you can take steps to reduce your risk of falling.

Exercise Regularly

The best defense against falls is to exercise regularly. Exercise can improve your strength, balance, and flexibility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week and muscle-strengthening activity two or more days a week.

Exercise Examples:

• Aerobic exercise includes swimming, brisk walking, and cycling.

• Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, squats or lunges, and resistance bands.

• Yoga or tai chi can also be excellent options for improving balance and flexibility.

If you’re new to exercise or have health concerns, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. They can help you choose safe and appropriate activities for your age and ability.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Older woman holding up a bowl of salad

A well-balanced diet can also help reduce the risk of falls by providing the nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy. Adequate vitamin D and calcium intake are also essential for maintaining bone health.

Limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol can impair your balance and coordination.

If you take medications, be aware of potential side effects that could affect your balance or make you feel dizzy.

Check Your Vision and Hearing

Vision and hearing changes are common as we age and can contribute to falls. Poor vision can make it challenging to navigate your surroundings, while hearing loss can make it harder to hear warnings or avoid hazards.

• Have an eye doctor check your eyes regularly and wear glasses or contact lenses as prescribed. 

• If you have hearing loss, consider using a hearing aid.

• Make sure your living space is well-lit and free of clutter.

Make Your Home Safe

Making your home safer can also help prevent falls. Remove any tripping hazards, such as loose rugs or electrical cords. Install grab bars in the bathroom, especially near the toilet and in the shower or tub. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.

Ensure that staircases are well-lit and have sturdy handrails. If necessary, install a stair lift or chair lift. Use a sturdy ladder or step stool to reach high places rather than standing on chairs or unstable surfaces.

Wear Appropriate Footwear

Zoomed in shot of woman tying her shoe

Wearing appropriate footwear is also important for preventing falls. Choose shoes that fit well and have a non-slip sole. Avoid shoes with high heels, as they can reduce your balance and increase the risk of falls. Look for shoes that provide good support and cushioning.

Take Your Time

A group of middle age women taking a leisurely stroll

Finally, take your time when moving around. Avoid rushing or taking shortcuts, especially in unfamiliar places, areas with uneven surfaces, or poorly lit areas. 

Be aware of your surroundings and look for potential hazards, such as wet floors, holes, bumps, or objects in your path. If you’re feeling unsteady or lightheaded, stop and rest until you feel better.

Maintain Your Brain Health is Key

Your brain plays a vital role in maintaining balance and coordination, essential for stability and preventing falls. 

Your brain’s ability to process information, react to environmental changes, and coordinate movement may decline as you age. This can result in slower reflexes, impaired vision, and reduced muscle strength, making it harder to recover from a stumble or maintain balance on uneven surfaces. 

Along with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and staying mentally active, taking a brain health supplement like Stonehenge Health Dynamic Brain may help maintain your brain’s health and, by extension, help reduce the risk of falls.

Dynamic Brain contains 40 researched and proven ingredients, including Choline, Huperzine A, Bacopa, DHA, and essential vitamins and minerals to support brain health.

Take Dynamic Brain daily to support optimal cognitive function leading to better memory, sharper processing, focus, alertness, learning, and mood, plus a boost of mental energy.

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