Fall Prevention: The Falling Start
Many fall prevention programs focus on balance and strength. This is great. I’m all for working on those aspects, they need to be addressed. However, what do you do when you’ve lost your balance and a fall is ‘inevitable’?
Why Most Fall Prevention Programs Fail
This is the problem with most fall prevention programs, they only focus on one small aspect prevention-balance. However, you can still prevent a fall even after you’ve lost your ability to regain your balance. The instant a fall starts, you need a different set of tools to save the day-not balance.
One set of tools you need is your ability to get your feet under you. This is often referred to as agility.
The Falling Start
One extremely effective method we’ve found and use with our senior fitness clients is what we call the Falling Start.
This is where you lean forward until the point where you are going to fall/lose balance. Then you quickly get a foot out in front of you and keep the momentum going by ‘running’ out of it. Sprinters and athletes use this drill to help them achieve maximum velocity as quickly as possible. We’re using it to help arrest/stop a fall.
It’s very effective because it doesn’t require as much stopping strength that you would need if you were to take just 1 big step forward to stop a fall. Stopping a fall with just one big step forward works, however not in every situation. It takes a lot of mobility, and tons of strength. The falling start just requires some footwork and practice.
We recommend starting a few feet (about 5-10 feet) away from a wall or something soft to help cushion your stopping or falling if you don’t get it right at the start.
Give this easy drill a try. It might just save your life.