One of the reasons I study and practice yoga is to maintain my balance during my life after 50. We do poses to improve our balance on two feet with poses such as Warrior and on one foot with poses such as Tree. Being better balanced can help prevent a fall as we age.
As the snow piled up on my doorstep this weekend, I was reminded of how easy it is to slip on icy and wet surfaces during the cold weather months. Several family and friends fell on black ice last winter. One friend fractured her elbow.
According to the National Safety Floor Institute (NSFI), falls account for the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits. AARP Bulletin in December 2015 reported that “Injuries caused by falls are affecting adults ages 45 to 64, just as they are for those 65 and older, according to data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s national injury-surveillance system.” Not a positive story.
So now that you know falling is a serious health issue, what can you do to prevent a fall?
“Shoes Designed With Your Sole In Mind”
Besides practicing yoga for balance, I was interested to learn about a line of shoes that was engineered to be slip-resistant. “We are a footwear company that make casual flats and sandals for women. However, we use a fully patented outsole that provides the strongest grip on all slippery surfaces. We focus on primarily shoes designed to prevent slips-and-falls,” said Rhea Footwear’s cofounder John Lee in his email. He offered to send a pair for me to try.
Per the Rhea website, John and his cofounder Paul Ahn brought together the technology that provides superior grip on all terrains and a stylish design while at Cornell University (my alma mater). During their time in Ithaca, New York, a place where it rains and snows more often than it shines, they were unable to find shoes that were practical in the rain and snow while being stylish. Rhea was founded under the mission to deliver high quality shoes that integrate style with technology. (Wish I had these shoes when I had to climb Libe Slope to make it to class during winters in the ’70s. Half the time I felt like when I put one foot forward the other foot went backward.)
I took my Rhea blue suede loafers out for a walk after the snowstorm yesterday. They did grab the wet ground nicely and I didn’t fall. I didn’t try any ice-skating with them – not a sport I wanted to test out with loafers, even if they do have a high COF, better known as ‘coefficient of friction.’ John says that “as a general number in the slip-resistant shoe industry, a coefficient rating of 0.5 or above (from a scale of 0.0 to 1.0) is considered to be slip-resistant.” It’s like checking the tires on your car for tread.
Finding Stylish Shoes For My Flat Feet
I do like my blue suede loafers, but I now need a more supportive shoe for my flat arches. So I am sending a challenge to the smart Cornell grads of Rhea Footwear to ask them to develop a stylish woman’s shoe that has more support with a thicker sole than a loafer. The shoe must also be able to fit my orthotic insert. I just bought a new pair of SAS shoes that my podiatrist recommended with a lace and a rubber sole. They aren’t the most flattering fashion statement, however they are really supportive, fit my orthotic and most of all I can wear them all day with comfort and ease.
After visiting your Rhea website and looking at your men’s collection, I think you could easily design a nice stylish laced up shoe that would work for me. LMK if you are game to try it! I bet there would be a big market among boomer women.
More Tips For Preventing Falls
The NFSI has more tips for preventing falls including:
♥ Make sure to always tie loose shoelaces.
♥ Check the outsole of your shoes for excessive wear. Shoes will provide less grip as the outsoles become worn out.
♥ Inspect and clean your shoes regularly of any debris that gets stuck in the outsole. Debris can reduce the resistance of the shoes.
♥ Be extra careful when walking indoors from outside, especially when it is wet outside. Use floor mats, to wipe and dry your shoe’s outsole at the entrance to your home before walking inside. (Although be careful that the mats have good grippers so they don’t slip around which can cause falls too.)
Is It Summer Yet?
The best part about summer is walking barefoot in the sand. That’s when my feet are the happiest. You can also find nice flip-flops that have strong non-slip soles at the Rhea website. Check them out and order a pair ahead of time at the sale price.
From my soul to your sole, I leave you my friends with a shoe quote from designer Christian Dior. As Christian says, “You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes. Too many women think that they are unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet.”
Yoga is wonderful for balance. There’s another wonderful benefit from practicing balance poses.. In order to hold a pose you have to focus and stay in the moment. I always know when I have too much on my mind because I can’t maintain a balance pose. It makes me wonder if one of the reasons falling increases as we age is largely to distractions and multitasking.
Pamela, great observation about balance and yoga. Would be interesting to research the multi-tasking. Just read about a woman who fell and really hurt herself because she had extension cords in her way.
I will check out these shoes for sure, but I also have flat arches. I hope the company heeds your advice, Judi!
Helene, I did hear from the company and they are interested in accepting the challenge…so stay tuned.
I LOVE yoga too and I love your blog! So glad I clicked through via the post at Huffington. I will be back to visit again. Hope you’ll stop by My Real Life Reviews too.
Happy Sunday, G
Thanks Geraldine. Will have to check out your blog.
PS: Love the loafers too! Nice. 🙂
Glad you like the loafers. They are nice and stylish. and comfy.
Yep! Balance is critical for a happy, healthy, active aging process. I incorporate balance into my daily Ironman training routine (don’t want to fall off the bike – again!). I do like the style of your blog. If your interested in the perspective of those overcoming major health challenges, and getting back on with life, you can find plenty of stuff on my blog, where you are invited to write a guest post, whenever you like.
I do like your cartoons. It was Jeff Bullas’s cartoon of himself that caused me to follow his work (which is excellent).
Kevin, thanks for sharing your blog. I’ll have to check it out. Congrats on your ironman training and staying fit post 50. Perhaps I can write a guest post about my yoga journey.