Do you remember when you were a kid and fell down? You may have been riding your bicycle, fell off, cried a bit, wiped off the small amount of bleeding from the scrapes, hopped back on the bike and continued to ride. Now, fast 40-50 years: When we fall down the chances are pretty high that we may find ourselves with an injured/broken bone(s). This past week I saw two of my medical patients that had accidental falls and both suffered broken bones that will require surgical intervention and long recovery periods.
Here is also one of my pet peeves…people coming in and telling me how much they like the snow and winter weather. These people clearly have not had the negative experience of injuring themselves due to a fall. Once again, the reason why I do not like that weather at all is because the snow/ice lead to a number of people falling down and having their lives changed dramatically due to broken/injured bones.
Here is a simple equation we all learned in high school physics: Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (F=MXA). When we fall down, gravity produces a certain acceleration and the higher height we fall from, the faster the acceleration (remember the discussions about a penny being thrown from the top of the Empire State Building being a lethal weapon if it hit someone on the ground?)
Now, focusing on the “M” factor of the force equation: The higher the mass, the more the force. Therefore when the weight is higher, so is the force when a falling person hits the ground. This heightened force will produce a higher risk of damage to the body when a fall occurs.
The other major factor involved is the decreasing bone density with aging. Combine this with a high force of the fall and the odds of breaking bones dramatically increase as older, overweight/obese people have falls.
Yet another major motivating reason to shed that weight: Lessen the chances of a life-altering injury from a fall.