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?
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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:
Exercise. It gets the blood pumping and the muscles going. It energises you and it tires you out. And sometimes, after a good workout, you wake up feeling all sorts of stiffness in muscles you didnt know you had. So what causes this?
Let’s start by looking at something called: Muscle Hypertrophy:
This is when your muscles increase in size as they get stronger. Due to:
- Mechanical tension
- Metabolic stress
- Muscle damage
This muscle damage is what can cause Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). So while muscle damage is not an essential aspect of hypertrophy, it is a sign that you are on the right track to building muscle… albeit a painful sign.
DOMS is a distinct muscle pain that is caused by overloading the muscles through heavy or unaccustomed activities. It can range in severity and timing and is characterised by a feeling of being sore, achy, weak and generally quite “pap”. Often it develops overnight and one will wake up feeling this soreness. Unfortunately DOMS can often deter people from exercising as they feel they are getting hurt, however this is not the case and DOMS is a natural reaction that does subside.
It is 2018!! Most likely you have sat down at some point recently and written out some New Year’s Resolutions. Did any of these include the decision to make a change with your health and wellness? Have you made similar goals like this that you have struggled to keep in the past?
Most people want to be fit and healthy, however it is not well executed and carried out often. So, what we want to look at is… how are you setting your exercise goals? Are those goals attainable? And how do you set realistic goals, particularly when it comes to exercise.
You may have heard of SMART goals at some stage. SMART, stands for:
Specific – Make your goal clear and easy to understand
Measurable – Be able to quantify your results
Attainable – Be realistic in your endeavours
Relevant – Does it fit where you want to go in life
Time-bound – Know what your time frame is
So, how do we translate this to be specific to exercise?
Humans have always felt the need to keep time and divide our days and nights and seasons. Timekeeping dates back to 10 000 BC, however, the calendar we use today, the Gregorian calendar was developed in 1582, as a refinement of the Cesarean calendar, which was the first to follow an algorithm that was independent of the moon.
So why do we feel the need to divide our time into years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds?
With the evolution of humanity and modern society, we rely on time to tell us when to wake up, go to work, catch a bus or meet up with friends. This all allows our lives to run more efficiently.
So, with there being 23 days till 2018, let us use this time to look back and look forward, on our journey through health.
December is a wonderfully festive time, with Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and general merriment. However it also allows for an important time of reflection, as we look at what we have done over the year, and what we would like to change for the next year.
So I want to ask you 3 questions:
- What is something positive you have done in 2017?
- What is something you would like to leave in 2017?
- What is something you would like to improve in 2018?
The dictionary defines balance as:
- an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady
- put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall
- an instrument for weighing
- an oscillating wheel operating with a hairspring to regulate the movement of a timepiece
- physical equilibrium
Perhaps you have also heard people say things such as, “My balance has always been bad”, or “Poor balance is a part of getting old”, or even “I am thinking about getting a stick now that my balance is so bad”
So in your context, what is balance?
Maintaining ones balance depends on the following 3 processes happening:
- Your sensory system accurately portraying information on your body’s position in its environment – Hearing, vision and touch (such as our feet on the floor)
- Your brain processing that information – Neurons, sensory receptors in the brain and the decision making centres.
- Your muscles and joints coordinating movement based on the information your brain gives them – Being able to contract and relax to move how you want to.
These 3 factors are usually an automatic process for our body, and so when we feel our balance worsening, we need to explore which of these steps are not working how they should.
Most of the time, poor balance is a combination of a few factors, each adding a little bit to our instability. It is important to explore each of these factors and see which are lacking. Most of the time our balance problems can be anticipated and corrected if we know what to look out for.
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.