Since the beginning of summer we have had a lot of patients say that they are worried about going outside and attending outside events because they fear that they will lose their balance and fall. Different surfaces pose different challenges to getting around, like sidewalks, grass, rocks, or trails. Here are some ways to build your confidence and prevent falls while you’re outside:
1. Stay Physically Active. Regular exercise helps to make joints and muscles stronger. Make a plan to exercise or move around every day in order to keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Weight-bearing activities, like walking or climbing stairs, can help to slow bone loss and keep you strong. Click here to read our recent blog post with tips to stay pain free and motivated while walking!
2. Stand Up Slowly. Do you have a BBQ, wedding, or graduation party coming up where you’ll be sitting for a long period of time? Getting up too quickly can sometimes cause blood pressure to drop, making you feel wobbly and therefore more prone to falls. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and make sure to give yourself time to adjust when changing positions.
3. Use An Assistive Device. Canes and walkers can be beneficial in preventing falls with older adults. Make sure your device is appropriately sized for you (we can help with this!) and the wheels roll smoothly if you’re using a walker. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you decide which device is best for you if you’re not feeling confident on your feet.
4. Watch Your Step. Be careful when you’re walking up and down curbs and on uneven ground. During the summer months we often spend a lot of time outside both on sidewalks and in the grass. Take extra caution when stepping up and down from a curb and be sure to watch what may be coming up in front of you when you are in the grass (more reason to use an assistive device!).
5. Choose Your Footwear Wisely. Shoes that have soles that are too thin or too thick can make it difficult to walk outside. Choose shoes that are non-skid with rubber soles or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. If you’re at home, make sure that you have non-slip socks so you don’t fall on slippery wood floors. If you are looking for a place to purchase a good pair of tennis shoes, ask for our recommendation!
6. See A Physical Therapist. If you’re fearful of falling or find your balance declining as you age, physical therapy might be right for you. You can talk to your doctor or sit down with one of our balance specialists to discuss your concerns!
Click here to set up a free “discovery visit” to talk with a balance specialist about how to improve your balance so you can feel strong and steady on your feet!