My thoughts are currently focused on non-bicycling related falls as we grow a bit older - all examples below are 70+'rs.
1. A couple of years ago I fell very hard, finding that what I thought to be a mud-covered hill was actually frozen mud and as slippery as an ice rink. Immediately after the fall, I walked sort of like a crab, and problems just kept getting worse until my L4-L5 fusion one year ago - BTW, all is GREAT now.
2. We have had at least 2 non-bicycling-related falls amongst the older participants in this group in the past year or so, both leading to significant and negative consequences.
3. Sunday, my good friend, Carl (80) - one of our grreat lead singers, fell while trying to throw an article up on a shelf in a church, sustaining a broken femur.
4. A high school chum (my age) was on his roof, adjusting a ham radio antenna, and fell to his death.
5. Another of our singers fell last year on the ice and broke his hip. And then again he fell on ice, but did not break anything this time.
OK, I know it has to do with a couple of things:
1. The longer one lives, the more potential for falls - simply a statistical fact of more exposure.
2. Balance. I believe there are a number of studies which show balance to get worse as one grows older.
3. Strength of supporting muscles, which weaken as one ages.
4. Potential osteoporosis, making one's bones easier to break.
5. Attitude - "I am still invincible"
6. I would suppose that osteoarthritis, bursitis, etc. might make one more susceptible to falls.
OK, so personally, I do a LOT of strengthening exercises, stretching, endurance activities (bicycling, swimming, walking) - I don't have arthritis, but do have some chronic bursitis. I work on my balance regularly, my bones do not have osteoporosis. I am not sure if I am "still" invincible or not.
Now, when my wife and I have surgery or whatever at a hospital, they do a quick "fall potential" survey to see if we meet the criteria for more chances of a fall.
I know that the results of a fall can have a devastating effect on one's life style and quality of life.
I am interested in your further thoughts on this topic, please????