Last Sunday night, the 16th, I went to the theatre – live and in person, not motion pictures. It was a small theatre, under 99 seats. The evening was devoted to the singing of…well his name isn’t really relevant only to say he is very popular with those of us in a certain age group. You know the group. If you go to the legitimate theatre and stand either in the balcony or in the back row, you’ll notice most of us making the entire room look like a box of Q-Tips. All the heads are white and fuzzy.
Intermission came. All but two people in the audience needed rest rooms. I watched my fellow theatre goers grab hold of one seat arm and the back of the seat in front of them so they could begin the pulling struggle to their feet. Some switched their grip, others asked for assistance from the somewhat more abled bodied person sitting next to them. I swore quietly under my breath that I would simply rise and I did. The fitness class work I’m doing under the guidance of Los Angeles Turners’ Fitness and Health Director, Mesfin Felleke, paid off. I know that my not being done with living has something to do with my determination. I know that aiding in the rejuvenation of Turners here, there and everywhere helps keep my enthusiasm for fitness high. But I also know that having someone encourage me makes a whopping difference. Hmmm, sounds like Turnerism to me!
This coming Saturday, September 22, 2012, is officially National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. What has this got to do with listening to a lounge singer and Q-Tips? Lots. If those of us in that certain age group actually wait until we fall to start doing something for ourselves, we’ve lost. If we live by those 10 wrong, but easy to swallow rules about falling – we’ve fallen for sure. And I don't mean "falling in love again" as the singer intoned.
OK, think about this:
1. Falling won’t happen to me – I’m careful. The truth is that 1 in 3 older adults—about 12 million—fall every year in the U.S.
2. Falling is something normal that happens as you get older. Wrong again and wrong big-time.Falling is not a normal part of aging. Do some strength and balance exercises, manage your medications, have your vision checked and make your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.
3. If I limit my activity, I won't fall. The reality is that performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.
4. As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling. Not true. Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.
5. Muscle strength and flexibility can't be regained. Again, not true. While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you've been a "couch potato" your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls.
Visit americanturnertalk.blogspot.com to read 5 more rules about getting older and keeping fit. Remember that keeping the body sound will help keep your mind sound too.