Falls have been a big topic since people can have their lives change forever should they break a hip or dislocate a shoulder or anything similar. Falls are the commonest cause of injury-related hospitalisation in persons aged over 65 years, accounting for about 30% of all medical emergency admissions. Women are 3x more likely to fall than men, and in the elderly, are also more likely to be osteoporotic making the chance of a fracture higher. I find all this information concerning.
You can get advice on controlling falls that ranges from eating dietary supplements to performing balance training to wearing protective clothing to protect points where a fracture might occur. One thing that I have noticed hasn’t been given that much attention is that often people lose the ability to sit with control at a relatively young age. If you can’t control how you sit down then there is a bigger chance of slipping sideways off the chair or falling backwards than there would be if you sat with control.
The 1 minute squat test is a good way yo see how fit a person is but there is the assumption that the person is getting up and down correctly which might not always be the case.
1 MINUTE SQUAT TEST
Stand in front of a chair, feet shoulder-width apart and squat down to lightly touch the chair before standing again. See how many you can do in one minute. Make sure the chair is low enough so that it allows your hip bone to drop a fraction below your knee.
Superfit: More than 60
Barely fit: 20-39
Unfit: Less than 20
Sometimes it’s better to start , without worrying about the time limit, and see if you can perform a chair squat with good form:
Stand about 2 feet in front of a chair, hinge forward at your hips, torso leaning slightly forward (45 degree angle), bend hips, knees (knee caps tracking over first and second toe) and ankles congruently, move hips back and down toward the seat pan (sit bones barely touch the edge of chair), arms crossed in front of chest, brace your core. Stand up fully (shoulders and hips level).
Now if you want to progress there are lots of variations but one that I like best is to start performing goblet squats which can be a precursor to performing back squats.
The few coaching cues involved in the goblet squat more than suffice to get the job done:
- Hold a weight against the chest.
- Position your feet so your stance is a smidge outside shoulder-width, with your toes pointed slightly out. If you’re taller, you may need to widen the stance a little more.
- Sit back and down between the knees, keeping your chest up the whole time. Make sure you’re not falling forward or rounding your back.
- Go down as low as you can while keeping your feet flat on the floor. If your heels come up, your stance is still too narrow.
- At the bottom, brush your elbows down the inside of your legs and push your knees out. This is what makes the goblet squat so special, so let me say that again: knees out, knees out, knees out. This helps to engage your gluteal muscles more effectively.
- Stand back up and stand tall at the top.
Simple enough, right? Make sure to not overthink it. Think less, squat more, and you will find yourself moving more confidently and getting stronger.
Now not everyone will want to or be able to do all these different squat variations but each has the ability to help make your legs/thighs/hips stronger and help you to walk with more confidence and hopefully with less likelihood of feeling wobbly. If you have an sort of medical condition please check with your health care provider before trying any of these exercises out but if you get the ok I am sure that there is some benefit waiting here for you.
P.S. If you have trouble following these exercises you can certainly make an appointment with a local physical/physiotherapist, personal trainer or athletic therapist to help you work through these exercises. If you are in the Leighton Buzzard area and want me to see you then you can book to see myself using the following link : https://form.jotformeu.com/42456841375359