The saying “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” was made famous through the commercials for the Life Alert medical system. This device is worn around the neck or wrist of the subscriber so that when they fall and cannot get up, they press a button that alerts medical services in their area that they are in trouble. However, what if falling could be prevented all together? If not, how can we be better prepared to fall when this happens?
The Life Alert system has changed the lives of millions of people for the better. Its drawbacks are that it doesn’t work when the batteries are dead. Pretty low risk! When asking my clients about it, a few of them do have it but never used it. One, who I will reference later in the article, has fallen and didn’t use it even though it was on his wrist! Another client said she doesn’t want it because it is the clear sign she is ‘old.’ There is a “certain stigma when wearing one that makes you feel and look old.” So, what good is it if people don’t use it and it might not work if the batteries are dead?
Everything in life fails. This is a hard pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, everything that is ever built, birthed or created will eventually decay. When thinking about our bodies there are two ways to approach what happens to us over time; either in a proactive way or reactive way. Proactive focuses on the steps we take in our daily routine to prevent something from failing. Reactive is the more common method and is what we do after something fails. Let’s discuss the differences and what we can do specifically when it comes to falling.
I for one am a believer in the proactive method. If there are things we can do to prevent a falling episode we MUST do these things. For instance, I had a client who for years tripped on the same rug. One day he fell as a result of tripping on this rug, broke a few ribs, and had to stop all exercising for weeks to heal. When I asked him why he never moved the rug, he said because it went with a painting in the room. This is NOT a valid reason to keep a trip hazard in your home! At any point if you are bumping into something, slipping, tripping or missing a step address it immediately. Do not wait for this to become more serious than it has to be.
The reactive method comes out of necessity. Once a fall happens, what can we do about it after? The same client has still not moved the rug. To me, this is an absolute mistake and could lead to a bigger injury. However, his argument is now he is aware of the rug and is extra cautious around it. More or less, touching the hot stove when you’re a child mentality. I did it once so now I won’t do it again. That in itself is a reactive mindset, even if I don’t agree, he now has learned that the rug can be dangerous when not taken cautiously.
Exercising with TSFC contains both proactive and reactive approaches when it comes to falling. Our proactive approach is the focus on our day to day activities, eating habits, falling down techniques and muscle building exercises that increase our balance so we don’t fall in the first place. But, if we do fall we have been trained how the muscle to take the hit. If we do wind up falling our bodies are flexible enough, strong enough to recover (reactive approach) and aware enough as to what caused the fall so we can change. (See Practice makes Permanent)
The Life Alert system is very reactive in nature and serves a very important purpose; how do I get help if I’m in trouble. It’s extremely major drawback is it is based upon the subscriber being injured.
Of course the device works, and I do highly recommend thinking about getting one. The reason you should think about getting one is because it will get you in the mindset of what you can do now to prevent falling in the first place! Do all those things first, remove that rug you’ve been tripping on, and keep exercising to prepare.
Sylverster Stallone said in Rocky VI “Life ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can GET hit and keep moving forward.” This is both proactive and reactive as we know we’re going to have ups and down, but how are we going to prepare for them both? Don’t let up, keep pushing forward, and stay loyal to your longevity!