Exercise Now to Prevent Falls Later
It is easily agreed upon that falling down is not fun! It is embarrassing and often times confusing why we fall. Sometimes we are simply not paying attention to what we are about to encounter, and other times we fall standing up. Just taking a step up, down, or even back can get us into trouble. Though this can be a traumatic event you are not alone. The incidence of falls are are drastically higher that you might think.
The statistics compiled by the National Institute of Health (NIH) related to falls are staggering. The following data was reported in a study in the Public Library of Science. Twelve percent of U.S. adults reported falling in the previous year for a total estimate of 80 million falls. On average, 9.9 million fall-related injuries occurred each year. Of all fall-related injuries among adults, 32.3% occurred among older adults (65+), 35.3% among middle-aged adults (45-64) and 32.3% among younger adults (18-44). Among U.S. adults, the total lifetime cost of annual unintentional fall-related injuries that resulted in a fatality, hospitalization or treatment in an emergency department was 111 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.1
What Causes Us To Fall?
There are a myriad of reasons that we make take a tumble. One of the most obvious reasons we fall is due to the loss of balance. Whether we fall due to uneven surface or just the natural process of aging and loss of coordination, we need to know the risk factors. One may find it intriguing that middle-aged adults were the highest category to suffer fall-related injuries. This is the time during our life that we are going the many changes. We begin to lose strength, we often begin to add medications to help with physiological problems that cause loss of balance, and our sight and hearing begin to fail. All of these factors and more can and will continue into older years as defined by this study.
Prevention is the key to avoiding becoming one of the statistics. Sure accidents happen, but a sound strength training program can help prevent or decrease the injury rates of a fall. Improved muscle strength, balance, and proprioception developed and maintained during middle-age may be carried over when an individual gets older, aiding in the reduction of falls and fall-related injuries in the older adult population.1
Now is the time to maintain or even improve your strength, balance, and coordination so you can maintain a fall-free lifestyle.
Santosh K. Verma, Joanna L. Willetts, Helen L. Corns, Helen R. Marucci-Wellman, David A. Lombardi, andTheodore K. Courtney: Falls and Fall-Related Injuries among Community-Dwelling Adults in the United States