I’m kicking off blogging about my Everyday Sustainable Practice with something that may seem unconnected to what we normally think about when we hear the word “sustainable”, because it isn’t “green” or environmentally-friendly or paraben-free. But it’s very much related to my personal sustainability.
Work on my physical balance.
What does this have to do with sustainability? A lot, because it’s related to the sustainability of my long-term health. I fractured my ankle last year, and have been very sensitive to the consequences of weak ankles and general bad balance for healthy aging. I’m 42 years old, so I’m not in the elderly category, yet, but I’ve experienced how debilitating a slight fracture can be. It can only get worse the older I get, right?
Right. According to Dr. Atul Gawande in a fascinating and sobering New Yorker article on aging, The Way We Age Now.
Each year, about three hundred and fifty thousand Americans fall and break a hip. Of those, forty per cent end up in a nursing home, and twenty per cent are never able to walk again. The three primary risk factors for falling are poor balance, taking more than four prescription medications, and muscle weakness. Elderly people without these risk factors have a twelve-per-cent chance of falling in a year. Those with all three risk factors have almost a hundred-per-cent chance.
So I have on my list, “balance exercises.” These include tip-toeing around, standing on one leg while I wash the dishes, and making circles with my feet. I will review the how’s your balance post in my wellness blog on this topic, as well. I want to establish a life-long habit to keep my ankles strong and support good balance, to be able to dance and take hikes comfortably now, and to prevent falls in the future.
When you consider your personal sustainability in the long-term, from a health perspective, what might you do now, every day, to support that?