Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Listen up, seniors--young people fall, too

I have been in the hospital and had a FALLING RISK bracelet slapped on my wrist. I guess I am, though--I have only fallen at home once, but with my lack of vision on one side and sore knees, I can be wobbly.

Still, according to researchers at Perdue, in a four-month study of  94 undergrads (Human Movement Science),  half fell in that four months. The fall rate is lower for seniors (one in three in a year)--probably because older people are more cautious, knowing falls can end in a decline and death.

The students averaged one slip or tripping moment a week, recovering their balance most times. Twenty-one fell more than once in the four months.

Walking on two legs, the researchers noted, is challenging and can be mechanically unstable.


Of course, the youngsters did not fall because of age-related changes in balance, but the scientists did look at substance abuse,  which accounted for 9% of the tumbles.

Talking to someone while walking is also a hazard, as is texting while walking (although this usually involves walking into something, not falling).

Walking and talking should be automatic, but it is demanding, requiring language formulation, speech generation, terrain awareness and navigation, and balance.

What about chewing gum...?

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