There is a little-known ‘law’ of psychology called Coue’s Law that states that when there is a conflict between your imagination and your conscious will, then your imagination will always come out stronger.
Consider this when you’re about to step onto a fresh, unused ice rink, having not skated for some years. As a kid, you used to spin around without a care in the world. Today, trepidation kicks in. You’ve watched Dancing on Ice, you’ve got Ravel’s Bolero going through your head, you see yourself doing a Russian split to rapturous applause – and then you take one look at that smooth glass-like surface, and all you can now see is you flat on your back after a skidding fall as elegant as a newborn foal.
The physical effect of fear
You want so much to get back to that freedom of spinning around the ice you remember from yesteryear, but fear takes a stranglehold of your imagination. As a result, your muscles tense up tighter than the Severn Bridge, and the tenser your muscles, the greater the pain when you do fall.
This is a classic example of Coue’s Law. Imagining yourself falling is stronger than your desire to get on the ice and give it a go. Consequently, you lose your confidence, and that loss of confidence can soon start to seep into different areas of your life.
The erosion of confidence
This analogy illustrates what it is like as you get older, and when you consider the following statistics about what happens when older people fall, it’s no wonder that the older generation enters their later years with fear.
- 36 per cent (4.3 million people) said that falling over topped their list of concerns (Age UK survey)
- 100,000 people aged 65 plus suffered hip fractures in 2017/18 (NHS).
- Falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75 (NHS).
Worrying predictions for the future
The pandemic has also taken its toll on the physical well-being of the over 65s. A report by the government entitled Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Physical Activity, Deconditioning and Falls in Older Adults highlighted some worrying trends which are going to have a serious impact in the coming years.
Key findings indicated that older people experienced a considerable reduction in strength and balance activity between March and May 2020, with the greatest change in the 70 to 74 age group. As a result, 110,000 more older people are projected to have at least one fall per year due to reduced strength and balance activity during the pandemic.
Is it any wonder then that the older we get, the more frightened we are? Would it not be healthier – both emotionally and physically – if we were to get old with more effective fall prevention strategies in place that would reduce the risk of hip bone fracture in old age, relieve the NHS, and encourage a generation of people with greater confidence and pride?
The power is with YOU to create fall prevention strategies
This is why here at Be You Health Studios, we incorporate floor work with so many of our clients – whatever their age, whatever their physical condition. If someone knows that they have the strength and flexibility to get themselves off the floor, then they will approach life with greater confidence at any age.
Here’s the thing – trips, slips, and falls are part of everyday life for us all. If you consider a toddler learning to walk, he’ll fall over and get back up a hundred times without even thinking about it. A toddler bounces back with no loss of confidence. He won’t give up and never do it again.
When an older person trips and falls, the pain is often greater, and the loss of confidence can be insidious. Coue’s Law kicks in. You start to be more conscious of where you put your feet. You are more stressed and tense because you are frightened of falling.
Don’t be afraid of getting down on the floor
By getting people on the floor, we can make a detailed assessment of where they are stronger and where they need to build up greater strength and resilience. As we progress through life, we tend to favour certain sides or get comfortable in a physical movement that allows us to achieve what we need to achieve. This can leave us weaker in other areas.
What this means is that if you take a fall, the alien nature of finding yourself on the floor can highlight your own weaknesses, which will start to wear away your own confidence.
Creating a programme of fall prevention exercises based on an individual’s assessment of how they get themselves back up off the floor is not just an act of physical strengthening and reconditioning but also one of mental strengthening too.
The earlier you can get on the floor and ‘practice’ getting up and down, understanding the muscles you need to work on, the more you are preparing yourself for getting older with greater confidence.
It is too easy to lose confidence in your physical abilities as you get older. The expectation of youth is that the older you get, the more confident you become, but the paradox is that as you get older, that confidence starts to wane.
Getting stronger physically is one of the most effective ways of reversing this trend.
Use your imagination to positive effect and get yourself booked into an assessment with us here at Be You Health Studios, where we can build up your strength and mobility and steer you towards a robust and fulfilling future.