I don’t know if you are aware of this, but preventing falls is extremely important when it comes to seniors (ages 55+)! 1 in 5 people who fall and break their hip, are not likely to recover from that serious injury. Since we know that falls are potentially life threatening, what are some simple strategies to help reduce the likelihood of falling? Well, one key area to prevent tripping and falling is to make sure that you have good ankle mobility or heel-toe lift while walking. You see, without good heel-toe lift, it is easier to trip when there are obstacles in your path, or the surface isn’t even; which is quitecommon.
Here 3 strategies to prevent tripping for seniors:
- Improve Your Dorsi Flexion – Dorsi Flexion is your ability to lift your toes up. If you watch someone who shuffles their feet as they walk, they don’t lift their toes very high. The problem with not lifting your toes up, is you become susceptible to stubbing your toes on uneven surfaces, or just tripping over things. To improve Dorsi Flexion, I recommend lifting your toes up and down from either a standing, or seated position based on your balance ability. Another great technique for improving Dorsi Flexion is to walk on your heels. Try 15-20 repetitions of toe lifts, either standing or seated, followed by 20-30 seconds of heel walking.
- Increase Your Gait – Your gait is the length of your stride when you walk. When people shuffle their feet, they usually have a poor gait. What I encourage people to do is lengthen their gait by marking off 10 feet, and completing the distance in as few strides as possible. What this activity does is train you to get used to taking bigger steps so your stride increases.
- Stretch Your Calves- What might prevent people from having ankle mobility is very tight calf muscles. The way our body works, when one side is weak, the other tends to be tight. While increasing your Dorsi Flexion strengthens your shin muscles, stretching your calves loosens up the opposing side. Put your foot against the wall and lean into it for 30 seconds – 1 minute, to achieve a good calf stretch.