Are You Afraid of Falling on Ice?
It’s that time of year again, the days are shorter, the temperatures are staying around freezing, and sheets of ice seem to appear in the most unexpected places.
What does this mean for you?
Does your inner-child come out, and you find yourself running to slide as far as you can across the ice? Are you dreading that walk to your car, or the walk into the grocery store, for fear of slipping and falling on the pavement? Ouch!
Regardless of which scenario you picture yourself in, I want to help you understand why balance is so important in your life right now.
First, let’s fast-forward into your elderly years. Did you know that falls are one of the leading causes of rapid health decline in the elderly population? It is also proven that one’s ability to balance decreases over time, therefore impeccable balance is essential during childhood and throughout adulthood.
How can you prepare now?
There are 4 categories that you can address to improve your balance and prevent falls.
Stiffness and Mobility: Stiffness will drastically decrease your reaction time when a slip occurs, with decreased mobility, your body is unable to move to prevent the fall, thus landing in a vulnerable position on the pavement.
How to decrease stiffness and improve mobility:
- Stretch your ankles, hips, wrists & shoulders daily
- Get checked by your chiropractor regularly
- Drink water everyday
- Consume a diet rich in vitamins & minerals
Center of Balance and Posture: Center of balance refers to a point within your base of support, or between your feet when standing. This point represents your weight distribution. The further that point is from the center, the more unbalanced your body is in relation to the ground. Therefore your center of balance is a direct reflection of your posture. This is why posture is so important, even during our growth years. If your body is shifted to one side, then your center of balance will shift away from center, putting more weight to that side. With more weight carried on one side, your risk for a fall increases. An increased risk for falls can be influenced by many things such as: carrying items, an unlevelled pelvis, poor posture, leaning too far forward, and scoliosis.
How to improve your center of balance and posture:
- Get your posture checked by one of our Chiropractic BioPhysics Certified Chiropractors
- Get your pelvis checked to check for a leg length discrepancy
- Get checked for scoliosis
- Carry items close to your body and evenly distributed
Proper Footwear: Footwear that is loose fitting, does not have a good tread, or is too tight fitting on the foot can increase the risk for slips and falls.
Tips for choosing proper footwear:
- Find a good tread that grips the ground when you walk
- Keep footwear tied and fitted to the foot and ankle
- Make sure toes are not squished, look for a shoe with a wide toe box
Don’t Rush and Stay Aware: When rushing our feet do not make full contact with the ground, we are unaware of the ground under us and our center of balance does not fall within our feet.
Tips to slow down and stay aware of your surroundings:
- Walk with your feet hip width apart
- Never lock your knees
- Take steps with your full foot contacting the ground
- Keep arms free
- Look where you are stepping next
I hope these tips can assist with your winter stress, while improving balance and decreasing your fall risk. If you have had a fall, it is not too late, contact us to set up a new patient appointment and we will get you the care that you need.
If you would like to improve your balance, posture, and mobility, reach out to our team at Modern Chiropractic Center with offices located in Boise and Nampa, ID. Together we can work towards improving your overall health, so you can carry it with you into your elderly years.