CSA Physio Blog

How a body should live: Part 2

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by Jeffrey Begg

Previously, we talked about how a body should live from birth to 40 and from 40 to 60.  Here’s my final bit of advice: (and for the record, working with people after 60 to keep joints healthy is one of my favourite challenges).

60 and beyond:  Don’t fall.

From birth to age 40: Have fun.  From 40-60: Preserve your joints.  After 60, there’s one more thing to remember. Don’t fall.

Falling breaks things – mostly bones, but sometimes brain cells too (see: concussions).  Falling happens to be the number one cause of nursing home admission. People fall and break their hip, or bump their head, and this begins a downward spiral of health problems that often ends up in the loss of independence.

Falling takes seconds, and the effects can last for a decade, and can even be the beginning of the end.  (If you are over 70 and break your hip, there is a greatly increased risk of dying in the year following.   That’s a very sobering thought.)

So why do people fall?

Firstly, our reflexes slow as we get older. If you don’t work on them, they slow a lot.  If you can’t stand on one foot for 30 seconds easily, you’re falling behind.

By practicing your balance, you can keep them sharper, so that when you catch your toe on that carpet, you stumble rather than hit the floor. It’s quick reaction time that’s key. So work on it.  Not sure how?  One of us physiotherapists will be happy to show you.

Secondly, our legs get weak. Let’s say you tripped on the curb. If your leg strength isn’t enough to stop the forward movement of your body, you’ll hit the ground. Keeping up your leg strength is really important. If you can’t stand up and down out of a chair without hands 10 times easily, that’s a problem.

In fact, to find out how you measure up to other seniors, try the Senior’s Fitness Test.  I developed this with my assistant Emmanuel Devadoss based on a good bit of research and normative data.  Seniors find it very helpful to measurewhere they are at and what they need to work on.

A major goal of yours must be to avoid falling as you enter the golden years.  So continue to have fun, and choose things that preserve your joints, and practice the things that will prevent you from falling.  I hope it makes sense now that you have a lot of control over that – but only if you work at it on a regular basis by staying fit.  Once that toe catches on the boulder, it’s too late – you need to already be prepared!

In summary:  Have fun, preserve your joints, don’t fall. That’s how a body should live.


South Edmonton

10947 – 23 Avenue
Edmonton , AB
T6J 7B9

Tel: 780-988-5803
Fax: 780-988-5804

Email: CSASouth@lifemark.ca

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St. Albert, AB
T8N 1B4

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Email: CSAGrandin@lifemark.ca

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Edmonton, AB
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Tel: 780-989-9789
Fax: 780-989-9788

Email: CSA51Avenue@lifemark.ca

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