A Healthy Conversation–Why Do We Fall Down As We Age?



Hey there welcome to A Healthy Conversation. Okay so we are having entirely too much fun and we’re both kind of giggling right now. But today’s segment is about something not so funny. Although you know really, what was the commercial with the older lady that was from years ago? Do you remember?


JOHN:                         I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up?


DONNA:                     “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” And the truth is if you are anywhere in the boomer age or a little bit older than that, which is where you are. Or a little bit younger than that, I guess I’m at the bottom of boomers, so I’m not quite at the younger. But in that age range, you probably remember that commercial and you probably laughed, just like we did, we laughed at that commercial. Well here’s the thing, now we have parents who have fallen and can’t get up.


JOHN:                         The boomers also, not just the parents.


DONNA:                     Yeah, and we’re headed there because as we age we start to get weaker. I have a memory of being told by my mom—and it’s a memory of being told because none of our family was there—that she got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and she fell in the bathroom and couldn’t get up. And a laid there, and I get emotional thinking about it, she couldn’t get up, so she laid there on the cold bathroom floor the entire night. She didn’t have her alarm thingy that she wore on, so my sister or my brother-in-law found her the next day and she got very sick afterwards because she’d been laying on the bathroom floor all night long. So that’s if you’re talking about taking care of your parent, but what we were talking about is taking care of us, taking care of you.

So, I told you we were in Florida a few weeks ago meeting with our friend who’s a physician, an anti-aging physician, and we were talking about doing some work with her that we’ll tell you more about later. And I asked her the question, right? We were standing in the kitchen with she and her husband and I said, “Hey what’s up with people falling down? Why do people fall down?” Because you hear all the stories —


JOHN:                         Sure.


DONNA:                     About people falling down as they age. And remember what she said? She said?


JOHN:                         Hip flexors.


DONNA:                     Hip flexors. She said, “Hip flexors.” I said, “Hip flexors?” Because we teach a lot that you want to keep your legs strong. John definitely talks to his customers about that, and we talk about that in our facilities, that if you do leg presses —


JOHN:                         Very important.


DONNA:                     And leg extensions, right? Squats?


JOHN:                         Well, I think that there’s one thing that most people do when they work out that they shouldn’t do; they just rely completely on cardiovascular and not enough on strengthening.


DONNA:                     Bad idea.


JOHN:                         Exactly.


DONNA:                     Bad idea. Because the building of that muscle strengthens the bone, strengthens everything.


JOHN:                         Exactly.


DONNA:                     So, you definitely want to strengthen your quads and strengthen your glutes. You want to work on the lower extremities, especially as you age. But here’ the thing about hip flexors; this was awesome. I said, “Why do people fall down?” And she said, “Well hip flexors they stop using their hip flexors.” She said, “Notice someone who’s older, when they’re sitting down, pay attention to how they get out of their chair. They do this and they push and now they’re using their upper body strength and not using their lower body strength.” And as she was telling John and I this, do you remember the example I gave her that I had become aware of after I had Epstein Barh?


JOHN:                         Um hmm.


DONNA:                     The car?


JOHN:                         Yeah.


DONNA:                     I said, “You know what I realized, I caught myself after I went through a two-year period of dealing with Epstein Bar which is adrenal fatigue, I caught myself one day opening my car door, turning to get out of the car, stepping out and I caught myself pushing out of my car” And I was aware, what am I doing? Well as time went on, I caught myself doing it more and more. So, a way that you can prevent falling as you age, is to strengthen your lower body. And a test that you can do right now, is pay attention when you get out of a chair.

Now we told Marcia about this test, and she said she started to really pay attention when she was sitting down, and she caught herself doing this. Now you might catch yourself when you’re getting out of a chair doing this. You absolutely, when you’re sitting in a chair don’t want to push off with the arms or with the seat. Or if you’re sitting on the floor or if you’re sitting in your car, you don’t want to push off with your arms.

A much better alternative, but still not where you want to be, is what Marcia was doing; she caught herself pushing off from her legs. Here’s where you want to be. Pay attention to when you’re in your car or in your chair. When you stand up from any sitting position, you want to let your legs and your core do the work. It’s almost a good idea to put your hands out like I just did and force your lower body to do the work. When you do this and you pay attention, you can feel the core working. You can feel the quads working, you can feel the glutes engaging and those are the lower extremities.

So, listen, go sit in a chair or go sit in your car, everybody’s thinking about it right now, including you, I can see that look in your eye.


JOHN:                         You know another nice thing you can do too, is take a couple of empty one-gallon containers and fill them up with a little bit of water, a couple of pounds and practice sitting down in that same chair.


DONNA:                     Oh, that’s great. That’s great lower body workout. Tiny little simple lower body workout. So go do a test, go sit in a chair or sit down on the floor, sit on a bench, sit on a stool, go sit in your car, do the test and just see what you do. And train yourself not to use those arms, not to use that upper body strength. And then, like John is saying, grab a couple of weights or grab a couple gallon jugs and fill them with water and have them sitting by a chair and do some up and – They’re squats that’s what they are.


JOHN:                         Exactly.


DONNA:                     Do some up and down standing sitting motions and you’ll begin to strengthen that lower body and YOU won’t find yourself falling as you age. Okay, you are very, very kind and I just kind of shared and taught and you just stood there smiling and looking at me.


JOHN:                         It’s easy.


DONNA:                     Lovingly, very lovingly. See you next week.

Beth Hammond

Beth Hammond

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