Winter is upon us.
From an EMT point of view, this is the time of year that we get called out the most for falls, with or without injury! Severity of injury from falls can range from a scraped knee or sore wrist to a broken hip or brain injury.
How can you keep from falling and getting hurt???
Would you believe that regular exercise plays a HUGE in preventing falls? In college, I actually did a massive presentation on reducing falls. At that time, I thought the research would back stronger legs for better balance. I was wrong. Yes, your legs do play a large part in keeping you from falling, but it’s your core strength – you lower back and abs – that keep you upright! Once I read through the research results, it made sense.
When you start to fall (Yes, I have fallen so many times, my guys on the fire station talked about getting me LifeAlert, but I’ve gotten better!), your arms typically go out to the side or out in front of you to try to balance you or break your fall. Sometimes this works; sometimes it doesn’t. What you may not feel is your back muscles activating. Your back muscles are tightening in an effort to keep you from falling forward and to help your arms find that balance. At the same time your back muscles are working, your abs kick in to make sure you don’t end up falling back the other way!
What does this mean for you?
Yoga is an excellent way to not only strengthen those core muscles but also learn how to focus on activating those muscles so when you do find yourself falling, you can feel them working. It’s very cool to be able to focus on a specific part of your body and being able to feel it working, but it’s also a bit harder to explain.
Exercises that work multiple muscles and joints help train your muscles to work together better than muscle-specific exercises do. For example, you can do seated leg extensions to work the quad muscles in your legs, but seated leg extensions don’t teach your back and abs how to use that strength in the quads. Squats – every kind of squats – require you to use your quads, your calves, your abs, your back, your chest, and really most of the muscles in your body whether you feel it or not!
One more thing. . .
Have you heard the stories of someone who was hit by a car or fell off a roof and should have been physically broken beyond compare, but because they made it a priority to exercise and eat clean, their injuries and healing amazed doctors? There is something to that! When we respond to a car accident or a fall, one of the things we constantly check for is any signs of internal bleeding. Someone who has been working on building their strength and made their health a priority has a better chance of not suffering internal bleeding or a broken bone than someone who just doesn’t care about their health and wellness!
Still have questions???
You can message me on here or go to my training site to get answers!