World Class Falling
Look at this picture. You are in it, even though you may not realize it. Notice something about the player in the red jersey in the lower left? Look at his right arm.
He is making a controlled fall to the ground. To reduce the impact to the hip, he has reached down to the ground. The elbow is slightly bent. Watch any sport where an athlete is falling and you’ll see this posture. Below is NBA star Lebron James making the same move.
So what does this have to do with you? Odds are 100% you’ll fall. It may not be on the field in the World Cup or in an NBA game, but you’ll fall. Each year, one out of three people 65 years of age and older fall, and it is the major cause of injuries resulting in disability or death. Usually it happens at home, but can happen anywhere.
For these athletes, falling is inevitable. They will go down, and they must get up and play on. They are able to avoid serious injury because they train their bodies to absorb the force of the fall. In particular, their upper body and core strength acts like a spring to buffer the impact.
The falling posture you see in these athletes, where they are reaching out to the ground, is instinctive. All humans do it. Unfortunately, unlike these athletes, most people in adulthood don’t train to prevent injuries from falls. Older adults are more vulnerable to injury, especially fractures to the wrist and arm, when they instincitvely reach down because of a loss of muscle mass, due largely to inactivity, not just aging.
However, older adults can see the same results - fewer injuries from falling – by following the example of these athletes. Developing upper body and core strength doesn’t require hours of training, just a little time and effort. Here’s an excellent selection of exercises from the American Council on Exercise to get started with. Add in a few push-ups from the knees or against a wall. At Cascade Boomer Fitness, we do these types of exercises every day.
By regularly doing these, you’ll greatly increase your odds that if you go down, just like a world class athlete you’ll be able to get back up and play on.