helping to inform the communities we serve
Back to Blog
Improper movement is often the cause of falls and injuries
As we age, we often fall into poor movement patterns to compensate for diminished mobility and pesky aches and pains. But those poor movements may have serious consequences in muscle strains, bad balance, and falls. Here are suggestions for just a few of the most common movement issues.
Rounding the back
The most common mistake is rounding the back when picking something up from the floor. Many people find squatting difficult so they bend from the waist and round the back to reach the floor. This strains muscles and ligaments, leading to back pain. It also throws the center of gravity forward, encouraging falling forward. Instead, keep your back straight and bend from the hips and knees. This uses your core muscles and keeps your center of gravity over your hips and feet, maintaining balance. If you find this difficult hold onto a counter or stable chair for extra stability and practice the movement until you can easily pick something up from the floor.
Squat using your hips first
Following up on the squats described above, make the movement easier by keeping your shoulders back and hinge from the hips first by pushing your bottom back as if you are going to sit, and only then begin bending your knees.
Sitting and standing from a chair
Squatting using your hips first is also the properly controlled way to sit in a chair. Many people lean forward, round their backs, and fall back into a chair, then lean forward again to get out of the chair. This movement throws your center of gravity forward, encouraging back strain and forward falls. Instead, practice the squat technique above, sit softly into the chair, and then adjust your position. To get up, move forward in the chair, place feet hip-width apart, and hinge from the hips, keeping your shoulders back and your center of gravity over your hips and feet.
Keep your hands free
Keeping your hands free when you move is essential. It’s not just seniors who need this advice. Using your phone and holding items in your hands while you walk distracts your attention, throws you off balance, and makes serious injuries from falling more likely. Instead, put your phone in a pocket while you move and use a shoulder bag to carry small items or a wheeled cart for heavy items. This helps to center your balance, improves your attention to potential obstacles, frees your hands to use railings and other supports, and helps avoid head injuries should you fall.
Did you know that Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey (VNA) is the longest-serving VNA in the state of New Jersey? So we know a thing or two about helping seniors “age in place” to avoid hospitalization and nursing homes, and also what services people need to recover from illness and surgery at home. We suggest that you learn more about our home health care services and make a plan to age at home before you have a health emergency.
Medicare and supplemental insurance often do not cover all the end-of-life care our hospice patients and caregivers need. If you would like to help, please call 1-800-WE VISIT (1-800-938-4748) or visit our Donation page.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey (VNA) is a leading provider of comprehensive home health care services in Morris, Hunterdon, Sussex, Warren, Somerset, and Passaic Counties in Northern New Jersey. Established in 1898, generations have known that just one call to VNA opens the door to quality, patient-centered home health care solutions that allow patients to remain in the comfort of their homes with dignity, health, and independence.
© All content on The Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey's website, including blog posts, may be reproduced only if attributed to our organization with a link to vnannj.org.