By Lawrence Braverman
There is an epidemic of catastrophic falls; It is a silent epidemic, in which the victims do not gather in oversized crowds in public squares, complete with placards and shouted sentences, but rather those victims tend to fade and silently go unnoticed.
They were taken to emergency rooms with a broken pelvis or hip fracture in excruciating pain and eventually discharged into a world of walkers and wheelchairs and often placed in assisted living facilities. Then their general health decreases significantly; Depression and even cognitive problems appear.
According to CDC:
* “Each year over 300,000 elderly people – aged 65 and over – are hospitalized for hip fractures.
* More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls, mostly lateral falls.
* Women sustain three quarters of all hip fractures.
* Women fall more often than men.”
And a quarter of those people end up in nursing homes; half never regain their former function; and none of this has to happen; This life-changing catastrophic fall could have been prevented with a simple exercise that takes seconds.
Anecdotally, many of these falls happen late at night on the way to the bathroom. When people first get out of bed in the dark, they feel disoriented and unsure (especially if they’re on medication). As people get older they tend to lose strength in their legs first, they’re not all that stable anyway, and as all boxers know, the legs are the first to go.
The legs are the basis of all strength in man; among primates and hominids, man has the strongest legs, our strong legs remain one of the glories of our species, and to wither them from excessive sitting (“sitting is the new smoking”) is the greatest shame. Personally, I recommend T’ai Chi Chuan and especially Zhan Zhuang to gently restore lost strength and mobility, but without that and at the moment of first getting up from the midnight bed my simple exercise:
just stand there; do not move. Slightly sink into a Wu-Chi posture. Click here for a demonstration.
Your back is straight, your knees slightly bent. Release all tension and allow your weight to sink into your feet and then the floor. Breathe gently from your stomach.
Do this for a minute and be alone with your body for the entire minute: place your awareness in your body and feel your upper body slowly deflate as your legs become stronger. You can do this for more than a minute and get more benefit as more relaxation, sinking, and reorientation takes place; However, one minute would be the minimum required to save your life.
Then go ahead and go to the bathroom; You’ve reduced your chances of falling many times over. I am 72 years old and have had Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) since 1985 and have fallen quite often, but since I have been practicing standing Zhan Zhuang I have not fallen once (nor experienced any attacks of vertigo). ) in years.
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