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Fall Prevention | Tips from Three Pillars experts for keeping falls at bay

October 3, 2015

Each year, countless Americans go to the emergency room with fall-related injuries. Falls are not fun, and we could definitely do without any this fall.

Our physical and occupational therapists are experts in working with adults to prevent falls, and they want you to spend your October picking apples, going for walks, and enjoying the colors changing – not recovering from a stumble. Take their advice and put these ideas in action to keep the falls away:

Assess your home. Take a look at the spaces in your home that you use the most, like your entry way, kitchen, stairs, bathroom, and bedroom. Are walkways outside free from cracks and holes? Is there adequate lighting at all doorways and common workstations? What about mats and rugs – are they getting ragged and slippery or are they too thick that you stumble on them? Clear out clutter and do some simple fixes to make sure you don’t take a tumble.

Practice these three simple exercises. They’ll help enhance your balance and muscle strength to minimize the risk of falls.

  1. Heel-to-toe walk – Position the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other so that heel and toes touch. Focus on a spot ahead of you to keep you steady, and take a step in the same heel-to-toe fashion. Aim to repeat for 20 steps.
  2. Sway – Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, equal weight on both feet. Slowly shift your weight forwards and backwards, moving ever so slightly. All movement should be in your ankles, not in your hips. Shift your weight from side to side up to 20 times.
  3. Stand on one foot – Hold onto a sturdy chair and slowly lift one foot to balance on the other. Hold for up to 10 seconds and repeat 10 times before switching to the other leg. Need a challenge? Try holding onto the chair with only one hand, then with one finger, and then with no hands. If you become a real expert, try this with your eyes closed.

    Remember, when it comes to balance exercises, you can sneak them in almost any time, anywhere, as long as you have something sturdy to hold onto in case you become unsteady. Waiting in line? Need a break from your desk at work? Balance away!

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