I’ve fallen over a couple of times recently. Literally fallen over. First time involved my dog and a surprised pheasant. No one was hurt. Second time I slipped on some mud, this time unaided by animals. However, my dog came over and tried to lick my face and laid down next to me (perhaps thinking I was joining in his love of rolling). I also had a near fall experience while running in Cannon Hill woods recently too – I tripped on a tree root and started a midair front crawl swimming movement. Everything went in slow motion but I managed to stay upright.
The thing is, we are going to fall over at some point in our lives. That is a given. Often the only thing that is hurt is our pride. If we are frail, the stakes start to become much higher. Rather than worrying about falling, we can instead focus on a few things to reduce our risk and minimise the impact. Firstly, reduce the chance of falling with some practical measures. For example; I know I should wear hiking boots on my walks at the moment rather than my wellies. Hiking boots have more grip and it’s muddy and wet on dog walks at the moment. At home, reducing our risk might be clearing clutter off the floor, not wearing socks on wooden floors, sticking down some carpet that has curled up or getting a banister fixed. Other times it might be having one small glass of wine rather than, let’s just say, several. Knowing we should do something doesn’t always match with us actually doing it.
We could avoid high risk activities all together, but we need to take a call as a life without risk isn’t really a life fully lived. I fell off my bike a few times as a kid learning to ride without stabilisers. Was it worth it? Gosh, yes.
Two exercises that can reduce our chance of falling and ability to get up again are squats and balance. Balance involves co-ordination, strength and (minus a few medical conditions) can be improved with practice. Strong legs not only help us get up stairs and in and out of chairs – strong thighs save lives!
This appeared in the Stour and Avon Magazine, Feb 2022.