It is estimated that around 8 million Americans are sent to the hospital for fall-related injuries each year. But did you know there are ways to minimize or even prevent injury when you take a spill? Sports, skateboarding, scootering, jogging, and walking are just a few actives where hitting the ground is common. Professionals in these industries learn methods to protect themselves.
Here are 5 tips from the pros to reduce injury from a falling accident.
1.) Hit the ground with your palms AND forearms flat on the ground.
Many people instinctively try to put their arms out and catch themselves during a fall. This action is significantly more likely to cause broken bones. The best way to react to falling forward is to land on your forearms and your palms. This causes more surface area of your body to hit the ground, which makes the impact less destructive overall.
2.) Protect your head.
If you are falling and think you will strike your head on the ground, it is best to put your arms around your head like a helmet. Not only will this protect your head from damage, but it will also spread the impact over a larger part of your body causing less damage to one body part.
3.) Shift your weight.
Depending on how you are falling, you may be able to shift your weight to your side or back. If you can fall on your side you will avoid damaging the front half of your body. If you can shift the weight to your back, you can try to absorb the fall by rolling. The goal is always to reduce the impact as much from one spot as possible.
4.) Bend your elbows and knees.
Think of this tip as making a spring out of your body. Instead of hitting the vital soft parts of your body, use your arms and legs as a shield. This will allow you to lessen the blow if you land feet first, or forward. This tip also works with shifting your weight as you can roll out of a fall easier with your legs and arms bent instead of outstretched.
5.) Avoid stiffening up.
Your body is very resilient. It is our instinct to stop a fall, but almost always it is safer to try and relax, and just go with the fall. Of course, you need to protect vital areas like your wrists, ankles, knees, head, etc. But if you are able to relax as you fall, your whole body can absorb the shock.