The human body operates best when it moves. With sufficient practice, a movement can become a learned skill that through regular use becomes second nature. The converse is also true. When we avoid or stop moving in certain directions or dimensions the body slowly loses the ability to do those movements or skills and this affects our functional ability, imposing on our independence.
How easy is it currently for you to get up and down from the floor? The answer to that question may depend on a few factors—your age, how many injuries you’ve had, your confidence and, of course, whether there’s something down there that’s really that important.
If it’s too difficult or painful you may avoid getting up and down from the floor altogether. This is an important skill to have, though, especially when we get older. In fact, it is so important that our ability to do so is actually a measure of fitness and longevity. The World Health Organisation describes the ability to be able to get down and up safely off the floor as “an important skill for older adults to learn which will help them in coping with a fall”.
Despite this, only about 50% of people are able to get up from the ground. This then results in a ‘long lie’ which is defined as “remaining on the floor or ground for more than one hour following a fall”. All of which is a marker of weakness, illness, isolation and is associated with high levels of mortality rates in the elderly following a fall. Furthermore, half of older adults who remain on the floor for an hour or longer, die within 6 months following that fall. Unfortunately, the amount of time spent on the floor following a fall is then associated with the fear of falling, muscle damage, pneumonia, pressure sores, dehydration and hypothermia.
No one wants to fall. And most people think it will not happen to them. However, research shows us that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 years will fall over each year. All people at risk of falling should have a strategy for getting up following a fall. Preparing for this, will make it easier to minimise further injury and expedite getting up from the ground.
Getting up and down from the floor calls on almost every area of fitness and many parts of our bodies: balance, core strength, lower body strength, flexibility, and coordination.
If you have any issues in those areas, say you don’t have much flexibility in your hips or your balance is wobbly, it may be a difficult challenge. Feeling shaky may make it seem impossible but there is a safe way to get up and down from the floor, whatever your situation. Taking it step by step and practising on a regular basis can help you master this important skill. The issue also reminds us of how important it is to engage in an exercise programme (especially one that is specifically targeted towards to needs of older adults). Not only will exercise significantly reduce your risk of falling but, through targeted exercise, moving down and up off the floor will become much easier.
Imagine being able to play games on the floor with your grandchildren or to know confidently that if you have a minor fall you would be able to get up independently.
For some: easier said than done… but practice makes perfect.
Not sure where to start?
Click here to learn more!
Silver Fit has recently launched a new component to its exercise classes that includes teaching members how to get onto the floor (or as close to as possible) and back up again safety. This is done through a range of exercises and stretches that each member does at their own pace and level of ability.
If you would like to benefit from a class voucher (for you to participate in a FREE class) please contact Silver Fit by completing the form at the link below:
Do you wake up and need to rub your knees or shoulders or back, because your joints are aching? This is joint pain… There is a variety of pain and a variety of reasons why we experience pain. So today, I want to focus on understanding joint pain, and specifically, why we have MORNING JOINT PAIN
We go to bed… we have a good night of sleep… and yet, we wake feeling like we have been hit by a ton of bricks! You may know that morning stiffness is more common as one gets older… but is it inevitable?
Lets start by looking at some of the causes of morning stiffness:
1. Inactivity – General inactivity leads to muscle weakness and poor flexibility that puts extra strain on our joints.
2. Poor sleep – Interrupted sleep, too much or too little sleep, can affect our joints the next day.
3. Being overweight – Excess weight puts extra strain on our joints as well as causing us to feel lethargic.
4. A cold or damp environment – If we are sleeping in an area that is cold of damp, that will cause us to be tense during sleep and the cold will stiffen the joints.
5. Prolonged stillness – when we sleep we are still, therefore the fluid in our joints moves to where gravity tells it and our joints aren’t lubricated evenly when we start moving in the morning.
6. Arthritis or other chronic conditions – Joint stiffness is often worst following periods of inactivity. So in the morning our joints have stiffened up and you may experience pain.
So now that we know some of the things that cause us to be stiff… how do we counterbalance this and relax our stiff muscles???
The body is a magical thing. We have millions of cells that work together to create everything we need to stay alive and functioning. Our cells keep us going 24/7, 365. The way it works is simple: Every day our cells take in nutrients, air, and more. They use what they can and dispose of what they cannot. Of course, our cells are subjected to an ageing process as well. In fact, how we age is influenced by the wear and tear of our cells. We subject our cells to oxidative stress when we ask them to dispose of toxic by-products that we receive from the air and food we consume. So how we manage this oxidative stress, results in how well our cells manage wear and tear.
Much research is being done into how and why certain species live for hundreds or years and others for only a few weeks. Most of the evidence comes back to this oxidative stress. If our cells are constantly working overtime to remove bad products from the system, they will deteriorate faster. This is why we know that part of delaying our “wear and tear” comes with not subjecting our cells to extra oxidative stress. At the same time, we are continually developing strategies to prolong life and delay ageing.
One study from Future Learn, found that successful ageing comes down to 3 things:
1. Managing your health
We all know that being healthy involves eating right and exercising, doing things that are good for you and avoiding things that are bad for you. Yet, very few of us seem to follow these guidelines. Managing your health is about more than “putting out fires” when they pop up, we need to make it a priority to put our health first.
2. Staying involved with your community
People who are isolated are more likely to develop depression, frailty and overall poor health. Humans are designed to live in community and so it is vital to stay involved in the community.
3. Focusing on personal development
It is never too late to learn new skills and keep growing. When we stagnate and stop challenging ourselves, this is when we will see a decline. Grow in your strengths… learn new things… develop yourself personally and continually.
Ageing is a natural process. Ageing well is a conscious effort.
Do you want to start your journey of ageing well?
Why don’t you start with an exercise class?
Click here to come book a free trial exercise class specifically designed for older adults!
There is one thing that is certain in life, and that is that each and every one of us ages a little bit, every day. In your 20’s and 30’s ageing is probably not even noticed, as life is so busy and exciting. By the time you are 40, some hints start creeping in, but these are minor symptoms of ageing – slight crow’s feet around your eyes, or somewhat less vigour and energy compared to when you were in your youth, for example. When you are in your mid 50’s all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you have developed several aches and pains, body stiffness, and you may have to take a handful of pills every day for a list of chronic conditions that you have somehow managed to accumulate. What about when you are 70 or 80 years old, then what? Considering that life expectancy has increased substantially, and that people are living much longer than a few decades ago, it’s certainly becoming a realistic question to ask, “When I am in my mid-80’s, how will I have aged and how functional will I be?”
Ageing seems to be relative, as some people approach ageing with the attitude of “70 is the new 60”. How old are you really? Your biological age is simply how long you have been alive, but a much more important question is, “What is your body age?” In other words, how well does your body work and function? Is your body old, stiff, weak, unable to carry out functional activities because of pain, disease, chronic conditions and poor lifestyle habits? Or are you mobile, functional, able and fit? Although we are all getting “older” every day, exercise has been shown to challenge the concept of biological ageing, as it significantly reduces the risk of disease development and other chronic conditions that are so often associated with old age.
August – the month when women unite to celebrate their uniqueness and embrace the power that comes with being female. Women are special and so it makes sense that the ageing process, as well as the factors that influence ageing are different between the genders. So while there are a lot of similarities, there are some things that are uniquely female.
According to the World Health Organisation, women live an average four years longer than men. Life expectancy ranges from 58 – 80 across the world. However cardiovascular disease, which is often considered a “male” problem, is the number one cause of death in women. Luckily exercise substantially reduces not only the risk of cardiovascular disease but also many other chronic disease risk factors including breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and more. Women tend to live longer than men, as they make up 54% of people 60 years of age, 60% at age 75 and older, and to 70% at age 90 and older. As a result, it is even more important for older women to ensure that they maintain an active lifestyle achieving the correct type and amount of exercise. Being active is not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding quality life to your years.
Improved health care has lead to an unprecedented growth in the older population and soon there will be more adults over 65 than children under 5 years of age. However, the incidence of falls is also increasing and fall injuries are now among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.
As seen in the image above, 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 falls once a year, and of those who fall, half will fall recurrently. By the age of 80 the proportion of older adults who fall annually increases to 50%. Falls lead to morbidity and mortality and can have serious implications on the individual as well as on the global population.