Most of our instinctive actions when we start to fall are more likely to get us hurt. You can't always avoid a fall, but you can reduce the injury it may cause.
Plan for a soft landing
Simple trips over curbs or small objects—often our own shoes or clothing—are common occurrences. Aside from taking the steps to prevent them, when you feel yourself going down, you can take control of your fall. Fall prevention courses may be available in your community. These courses that will show you not only how to prevent falls but how to fall safely. You can also try the following techniques.
Think of yourself as a pilot and use the two to three seconds going down to actively plan a soft landing.
- Lean forward into the fall—this gives you some control over direction.
- Fall sideways, if possible.
- Aim toward open areas and toward grass or dirt rather than concrete.
- Aim away from other people and away from objects that can cause puncture wounds or fractures.
- Swing your arms sideways to direct your fall.
- Twist your shoulder to protect your head.
- Keep your knees bent and your feet down.
- Fall like a sack of beans—relax everything.
- Fall on the soft, fleshy places, like your butt and thighs. These areas have more protection and are lower to the ground.
- As you complete the fall, try to roll to your side in a ball. This will spread the impact to reduce injury and stop you from rolling further.
To learn more about ways to stay safe and on your feet, check out the downloadable online guide, Preventing Falls from Harvard Medical School.
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