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Old 10-26-11, 02:26 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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Non-Bicycling-Related Falls as we grow older??

My thoughts are currently focused on non-bicycling related falls as we grow a bit older - all examples below are 70+'rs.

Recently:

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.

7. ?????????????????

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????

Thanks.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-26-11 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 10-26-11, 02:58 PM   #2
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All Senior citizens should have Life Alert...

The latest(well not that latest) theory on "fell and broke a hip thinking" is the broken hip came before the fall and caused the fall.
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Old 10-26-11, 02:59 PM   #3
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There are (as far as I know unsubstantiated) claims that Tai Chi and yoga practice can help prevent falls in the elderly.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/NewsAndEvents...0502TaiChi.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...perts-say.html
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Old 10-26-11, 03:09 PM   #4
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Yup. Exercise.
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Old 10-26-11, 03:19 PM   #5
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I am reminded of my fall last December...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-Invulnerable...
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Old 10-26-11, 04:26 PM   #6
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All Senior citizens should have Life Alert...

The latest(well not that latest) theory on "fell and broke a hip thinking" is the broken hip came before the fall and caused the fall.
..or at least wear a helmet.

If my final fall is over the lip of pine box, all is good. Back to the serious discussion..
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Old 10-26-11, 04:30 PM   #7
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This one worries me too. I had a mountain bike fall a few years ago and broke my wrist. The a year ago I slipped on ice and once again thought I broke my wrist - luckily that was a false alarm. In September I slipped on the steps in a retail shop and again thought I might have broken my wrist -- once again false alarm. The problem as we age is that these things are fluky. It is hard to avoid slipping on ice unless you stay home. Tripping on the stairs just happens. I worry about the implications but can't think of anything to do about it other than the standard strength and balance exercises which I do.

We need a wearable crash bag
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Old 10-26-11, 06:02 PM   #8
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One thought is that when an elderly person simply falls unexpectedly it is actually the result of a stroke. don't know if there is any way to prevent or anticipate strokes though. One good thing is exercise, another is proper diet. See a nutritionist. Have a bone scan. Etc.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:07 PM   #9
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Reading a book now called "Bike for Life" all about developing and maintaining elite physical fitness.

The bottom line is to stay fit. Excessively fit. It slows some aging characteristics by 50%
Train every day... Weights, swimming, running, biking, squash, tennis... you name it. Variety is important because individual sports have specific benefits.

There, I saved you having to purchase the book and read it. The book cost me $20 so if 19 of you send me $1, we will share the cost of the book equally.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:11 PM   #10
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I am much LESS prone to falls than I used to be. I am 65 years old. I became "born again" regards fitness and health about 3 1/2 years ago. Besides becoming obsessed with cycling, I acquired a personal trainer and gym membership. I have several times started to trip on some outdoors hazard or hazard at work and been able to catch and avert the fall while thinking, "Five years ago I would have gone down for sure." Balance is very largely a matter of core strength, it seems to me, and my core is much strong than it was a few years ago.

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Old 10-26-11, 06:29 PM   #11
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Yoga is also an excellent adjunct to cycling and weights. Yoga practice improves both flexibility and balance.

To me the three pillars of healthy fitness are endurance, strength, and flexibility. I use cycling, weights, and yoga to cover these.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:42 PM   #12
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Excessive fitness activity, especially if it involves balance, is the ticket.

And dark chocolate.
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Old 10-26-11, 06:52 PM   #13
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Well....my experience is that those of us who are athletically active take no more falls in our elder years than earlier. Some of us are klutzes and some are graceful, or reasonably so. The consequences of those falls are pretty much a matter of chance, or God's intervention. On the other hand people who "act their age" seem to lose much of their abilities and resiliency. For them falls are more frequent and more devastating. I suspect that much, if not most, of the studies on older people who fall fail to make the distinction.

Yes, we are getting older, thankfully, but how we care for ourselves and our activity level and our nutrition means a great deal. Just how much these mean is only recently being recognized. My recent experience has reinforced that we are no longer a grossly homogeneous group. We are a collection of individuals as never before.

Sadly, many of the bone weakness and loss of balance type injuries previously associated with the elderly are now being seen in people as young as their 20s.

----------------------------------------------
I might add that there are simple things a person can do as a part of daily living that aids balance. One is dressing while standing. Try to dress from skin out including shoes and socks without sitting or leaning on anything. Another is standing while keeping the eyes closed. Try to stand in one position with eyes closed. When that is mastered do it while standing on one foot. There are others but these two should give the idea that balance, absent a chronic medical problem, is something that can be developed as a part of daily life and without a great deal of effort.

Last edited by HawkOwl; 10-26-11 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 10-26-11, 07:49 PM   #14
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I stumbled in the parking lot age 53, had a very strange splat-landing and got a slightly-displaced radial head fracture (elbow).
I attribute the fall to
1- previous injury to knee/peroneal nerve that makes me not lift one foot much when walking
2- paying more attention looking for cars than where my feet were going
3- groggy from trying to get to work early/on time.

Solution: getting enough sleep is more important than getting to work on time.

No surgery/cast/sling was required, but ALL activity was prohibited for almost 2 months except range-of-motion controlled exercises. It took almost a year to rebuild fitness and take off the pounds I gained during my recovery. It's 1.5 years later, I still feel some elbow discomfort on certain motions.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
4. A high school chum (my age) was on his roof, adjusting a ham radio antenna, and fell to his death.
I wish you hadn't mentioned that one. Tomorrow I am going over to a disabled friend's house to finish putting on a roof. By the way, her disability involves a vestibular disorder, as in she is always dizzy and has no balance.

I don't fall nearly as much as my college-age son. Most of his falls involve breaking bicycle parts and going down as a result. Last week he snapped the bottom bracket spindle. I didn't even know those could be broken. He's only twenty and he has sheared off three cranks and four pedals to go with the spindle. His grandparents call him Godzilla. My LBS calls him Money.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:19 PM   #16
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I definitely need to start doing balance exercises. I'm 68, been back bike riding for six months after a 35+ year absence, and have fallen half a dozen times, all but once when I was standing still after stopping. I have a weak right knee, which doesn't help.
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Old 10-26-11, 10:10 PM   #17
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I definitely need to start doing balance exercises. I'm 68, been back bike riding for six months after a 35+ year absence, and have fallen half a dozen times, all but once when I was standing still after stopping. I have a weak right knee, which doesn't help.
The two main reasons I'd suggest checking out yoga classes:
  1. Yoga seems to be ubiquitous. Even very small towns seem to have at least one yoga studio.
  2. Yoga is (or can be) very gentle when starting out.

The third, less noble reasons is that yoga instructors seem to have figured out where the disposable income is - the newest and most rapidly expanding market (from what I can tell) is "gentle" and "restorative" forms of yoga, aimed at seniors. You shouldn't have any problem finding an instructor who can adapt poses for for bad knee.
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Old 10-27-11, 11:21 AM   #18
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Yes, As I age I find my steadiness comes more and more into question. I walk with a cane but when I ride I find that I worry more and more about my bike ,but not so much on my trike, about balance which really is starting to spoil my rides.
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Old 10-27-11, 11:53 AM   #19
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Denver, who was the ham?(or what was his call sign), I probably knew him , and never heard about the fall
Bud(a fellow ham)...
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Old 10-27-11, 01:47 PM   #20
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Denver, who was the ham?(or what was his call sign), I probably knew him , and never heard about the fall
Bud(a fellow ham)...
Paul Thompson, a high school friend of mine from San Diego, who lived in SD, not Denver. His death was announced in the Ham newsletters in the SD area - not sure how national it was. N6PC

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php...Great-Ham-lost!
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Old 10-27-11, 03:04 PM   #21
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Paul Thompson, a high school friend of mine from San Diego, who lived in SD, not Denver. His death was announced in the Ham newsletters in the SD area - not sure how national it was. N6PC

http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php...Great-Ham-lost!
ok I mis read and thought he was a local ham,that is sad to hear, its a thing one has to pay attention to when you get up real high,(even a roof),the worst feeling is when you have climbed to the top of a 125foot tower, and
have to let go of it in order to work on the antenna,even though you have a safety belt on, it makes for a real pucker-up effect in an unnamed part of the body,,, again,sorry to hear of your pals demise ...
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Old 10-27-11, 04:06 PM   #22
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Tell me about it! When a part is ready to let go, it will, whether part of you or your bike.The biggest mistake I made was thinking that 7500 miles of no falls (other than clipless pedal tumbles which did no real harm) made me invincible. I pushed it too hard and simply exhausted my strength. Fortunately I was wearing my helmet climbing the stairs to take a shower. Foot gave out at the top of the stairs and my head tapped out the number of uncarpeted steps on the way down.

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Old 10-27-11, 04:48 PM   #23
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Mountain Roads of West Virgina 50 mph crash (64 years old)

Virginia International Raceway (VA) Turn 1 /60mph crash (65 years old) (first time ever on a racetrack with a motorcycle)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 10 /105 mph crash (66 years old)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 4 /100 mph crash (67 years old)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 6 /50 mph crash (68 years old)

All crashes were with full race gear on, I walked away from all of them unscathed, a little sore, but unhurt. The two 100mph+ crashes, I went airborne (high side)at over 100mph.. Lucky...
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Old 10-27-11, 04:57 PM   #24
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Mountain Roads of West Virgina 50 mph crash (64 years old)

Virginia International Raceway (VA) Turn 1 /60mph crash (65 years old) (first time ever on a racetrack with a motorcycle)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 10 /105 mph crash (66 years old)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 4 /100 mph crash (67 years old)
Summit Point Raceway (WV) Turn 6 /50 mph crash (68 years old)

All crashes were with full race gear on, I walked away from all of them unscathed, a little sore, but unhurt. The two 100mph+ crashes, I went airborne (high side)at over 100mph.. Lucky...
And your point is?
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Old 10-27-11, 05:13 PM   #25
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And your point is?
The point is obvious-he is indestructable, and can fly. I bet kryptonite will make him weak.
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