What happens if/when you or a loved one falls? I remember calling our mother-in-law from the airplane to let her know we were safely on the plane heading to Hawaii. She told us that she fell out of bed and was on the floor and could not get up. She had the phone with her obviously, and we said call 911. She would NOT. We asked when her caregiver would arrive, it would be a few more hours. So here we were with the doors ready to close and Mom was on the floor. Sigh.
This is not atypical of falls. A person tries to get out of bed, out of a chair, or trips on a rug or animal and down they go! We use to be able to catch ourselves, but we aren’t as nimble as we were in our 20s, 30s and 40s.
Luckily for Mom no bones were broken and the caregiver arrived about 3 hours later. They did need to call 911 to get assistance to lift her. Luckily, this was a common call to the paramedics in the retirement community where she lived and she did not have to go to the hospital, which was her fear.
How to prevent this?
First, avoid the problem to begin with.
Getting out of bed: Mom had a 3 – wheel walker that she used to get out of bed. Leaning into the walker made it skid out, causing her to her fall forward. Unless they are locked, they can be a fall risk under these conditions. They are great for walking, but should not be used as an aid to get out of bed or a chair.
Getting up in the middle of the night: People tend to trip on their way to the rest room during the night and it’s either a rug, dog or cat that is the culprit.
Second, and probably most important – you must have strength in your arms.
You need your arms to push and pull yourself up. That is where your triceps are used to help push you up and your biceps will help you to pull. Arm strength cannot be underrated.
Here’s an exercise I like:
- Begin seated in a chair with arms.
- Then, brace yourself on the arms and push your butt up in the air using as little help from your lower body as possible.
- Once you’ve lifted your body out of the chair, slowly lower yourself back into a seated position.
- Perform 10 repetitions. Guess what muscle you are using. Tricep!
I also like the three-minute arm exercises where you keep your arms extended outward and do arm circles, bent arm raises, and more. See my YouTube quick guide below for the 3 minute arm exercises. You can do these during commercial breaks while you watch TV! How easy is that?
Your triceps will your biggest friend if you ever fall and have to boost yourself up. They are the strongest arm muscle for pushing you up. Please get them as strong as possible so they can help you when you need it. The other benefit for women, you will look great in a sleeveless dress or top! Men, you will look great getting out of the pool. Now start getting those triceps strong.