While they are a convenient and sanitary modern invention, bathrooms can be dangerous to your bones. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 234,000 people over the age of 15 were treated for injuries sustained in bathrooms, and 4 out of 5 of those injuries were the direct result of falls.1
In addition, one-third of adults in the study aged 65 and older sustained fractures from these bathroom falls. The CDC report notes that overall, the risk of injury from falling down in the bathroom increases with age.1
But of course, you can’t just avoid the bathroom. So today you’ll read about easy ways to avoid fractures that could be caused by dangerous falls in the bathroom. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Throw Out the Throw Rugs
While they may be pretty, throw rugs in the bathroom can be a hazard. They can slip out from under you or slide along the floor when you step on them. Using towels on the floor as bathmats poses a similar danger. Instead, put down rubber, non-slip bathmats and make sure your bathroom floor is clear of clutter.
If you have a slippery shower or bathtub floor, put down non-slip, rubber floor mats.
Tip #2: Improve Your Balance with Exercise
Improving your balance is key to preventing fractures no matter where you are, but good balance is especially important in the bathroom. An exercise like the “flamingo” move is designed to be done in the bathroom while brushing your teeth, and it’s excellent for improving balance.
The importance of good balance in preventing falls cannot be over-emphasized. This is one of the primary reasons why I wrote the Densercise eBook System – in addition to increasing muscle strength and bone density, many of the moves in Densercise are specifically designed to enhance balance.
Tip #3: Install Railings and/or Grab Bars
Being able to grab onto something stable can make the difference between falling and staying upright. Install rails in the bathtub and if necessary, even beside the toilet, the two areas where most falls occur.
Tip #4: Have Your Eyes Checked
Have you ever tried to stand on one leg with your eyes closed? It’s harder than you think! (I don’t recommend trying this unless you have something to hold onto.) Your vision is an important factor in your ability to remain balanced; your eyesight works with your inner ear to send signals to your joints and muscles.
So get your vision checked at least once every year and if your prescription changes, be sure to get your eyeglasses updated.
Another aspect of good vision is having enough light. Make sure your bathroom has adequate lighting available at all hours of the day and night. If you need to turn on the light in the middle of the night, stand in the doorway for a moment and let your eyes get used to the bright light before walking into the bathroom.
Tip #5: Don’t Wear Socks
Wearing socks alone can make for some slippery encounters with the hard, slick floors found in bathrooms. Slippers with smooth soles pose a similar danger. If you can, go barefoot, or wear slippers or shoes that have rubber soles. Make sure your shoes have low heels.
Tip #6: Slow Down
Regardless of whether you’re getting up from the toilet, stepping out of the tub or shower, or just going in to the bathroom to fix your hair, take it slow. Rushing in and out can set the stage for a fall. If you’re in a hurry, just remember: falling down and breaking a bone will cause a much greater delay than just taking a few extra minutes to go slowly.
Tip #7: Keep Things Dry
Smooth floors and other surfaces are much slipperier when they’re wet. Keep dry rags, sponges, and cloths on hand so you can dry countertops, bathtub edges, and sinks. If you have trouble bending over to wipe the floor, keep a dry mop handy and use it to soak up any water.
I sincerely hope these tips will help you stay safe, strong, and in balance!
Till next time,
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged > 15 Years — United States, 2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). June 10, 2011 / 60(22); 729-733. Web. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6022a1.htm