“Sometimes you fall before you fly.
In my case, I had to
Stumble in the dark.
Fall on my face.
And get up again.
Only to walk into the wall.”
I love the above quote! I am an uncoordinated and clumsy person. I have experienced serious falls, and I trip over my own two feet weekly.
My journey started as a child. I always had scrapes and bruises from falling. When I was young, I had stitches four times. First, I fell off my bike and cut open my lip. Then, I tried to teach my younger brother to ride the tricycle down the front stairs and cut my chin open. Next, I fell off a seesaw splitting the side of my knee open. Finally, while playing a game, I fell on the air vent on the floor of my room and split my other knee open. My parents were constantly taking me to the doctor’s office. These things happened in the 60s and early 70s, and urgent care did not exist. However, my doctor’s office had an emergency number, so we did not have to sit in ER for hours.
My pediatrician told my parents to enroll me in ballet, which would help me become more graceful. I enjoyed ballet; however, initially, I moved like an ox. I was a horse on a carousel in my first recital and galloped around and around. I was the apple of my daddy’s eye, and he came to dress rehearsal, and when my dance started, he stood up and yelled: “Giddy-up, that’s my daughter!” At the time, I was embarrassed, but looking back at that comment, I feel blessed. My dad was proud of me! I improved, and I was a princess in my second recital.
You would think I learned balance and grace and would make it through the rest of my life without falling. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. As an adult, I started falling and breaking things. I was in my late 40s and was practicing the piano. I played the piece and made so many mistakes I wanted my mom, who was listening, to see how complex the music was. As I stood up, I slipped on the music lying on the floor and fell, breaking my right pinkie (I am right-handed).
In my 50s, I fell and broke things often. The first time, I was walking down some stairs, missed a step, and fell, breaking my ankle; about 18 months later, I was rushing into Taco Bell and tripped over the curb and broke my elbow, requiring surgery. Finally, I was attending a funeral, and as I walked into the church, I tripped on uneven cement and broke my knee and my other elbow (this elbow also required surgery!)
There are great stories for all these falls, but the blog would be pages long if I told them all.
Over the last few years, I have gotten nervous walking downstairs, stepping off a curb, and walking too close to the sidewalk's edge. Then, a few months ago, I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life fearing falling. So, I took action.
I decided to get physical therapy for balance. I started a couple of months ago, and it has been beneficial. I learned that balance begins with the ankles. So I started exercising to strengthen my ankles, legs, and glutes. I am surprised at how much it has helped. I walk downstairs and step off the curbs with more confidence. Once again, I feel like I am becoming graceful!
I aim to make it through the rest of my life without falling and breaking bones! To reach this goal, I am paying more attention to where I am walking, lifting my feet, and doing my balance exercises.
All of this may sound familiar to you. Do you have balance issues? Do you fall? Do you fear the worst when walking in risky terrain? The following are a few things that can help.
Steps to take to prevent falls.
1. Stay physically active.
2. Try balance and strength training exercises.
3. Fall-proof your home – remove area/throw rugs and clear clutter.
4. Find out about the side effects of any medicines you take.
5. Get enough sleep.
6. Avoid or limit alcohol.
7. Stand up slowly.
Spring is a beautiful time of year to walk! Enjoy the outdoors, be careful, and do not fall!