Wingard Wellness & Therapy Services: Walk Like A Bear

I suspect if I asked 100 people if they have ever fallen in their life I would get 100 yes responses to that question! While falling is an inevitable part of the human experience, the majority of falls are preventable. When considering the impact and negative consequences of falls resulting in serious injury, the consequences can be devastating. Did you know that falls are the leading cause of premature death in the elderly. Often times it is not the initial fall itself that results in a fatality but the subsequent and predictable decline in functional independence which ultimately takes years off of one’s life. Interestingly, research has proven that the fear of falling actually increases the risk and incidence of falling. One of the reasons this is so is that people become less fluid in their gait pattern and may rely on unsafe compensations while walking. There are many environmental factors which can increase the risk of falling and perhaps one that is familiar to all of us is that of icy & slippery conditions during these winter months. One simple strategy can make all the difference between falling or remaining upright.

Walk like a bear! What????

Yes, walk like a bear. You see, when a bear walks they walk flat footed. This flat foot position increases the surface area making contact with the ground. So consider the last time you slept or fell on a icy surface. Most likely it occurred when you were moving your leg out in front of you and your heel made contact slipping forward or perhaps when you were pushing off with your leg to advance your step. At both of these times there is a very small amount of surface contact between your foot and the ground increasing the likelihood of a slip and fall. So take a lesson from the bear when you encounter these surfaces, walk flat footed until you advance beyond the slippery surface.

For more information on fall prevention strategies, visit the links below:

CDC Falls

Coalition on Aging Falls PDF

Enjoy. Engage. Enrich.