Fitness Over 40

Bathroom Safety for Older Adults, or How Squats Can Save Your Life

Posted by LeeAnn Langdon on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 @ 06:13 PM

I just read an article in the New York Times about accidents in the bathroom. According to Centers for Disease Control records, 235,000 adults per year visit an emergency room because of injuries they sustained in the bathroom.

bathroom safety for older adultsIt's not surprising that the rate of injury is much higher in older people, but I was surprised to see the rate of injury skyrocket for people over 75. What really struck me, though, was how many injuries happen not getting in and out of slippery tubs, but simply using the toilet. "People over 85 suffer nearly half their injuries near the toilet." The rate of bathroom injuries was 72 percent higher for women than for men.

What does any of this have to do with fitness? I think everything. If women are losing their balance and falling as they try to sit on or stand up from the toilet, it's in large part because they have lost what little muscle they had when they entered their golden years. Every year after 40 you can expect to lose 1-2% of your muscle mass unless you're actively engaged in resistance training. And those muscles you're losing are the ones you'll need to get off the toilet when you're 80.

You've probably heard the term "functional fitness" used to describe exercise that helps you manage the activities of daily living. Well, getting on and off the toilet is about as functional as it gets. Squats and lunges and ab exercises may seem less than thrilling to you now, but just remember how nice it will be to use the toilet on your own in your 80s.

(photo credit: alamosbasement)

Click me

Tags: exercise, safety, strength, senior exercise, functional fitness

FREE QUIZ:Is a Personal TrainerRight for

Let's Connect!

Subscribe to the Fitness Over 40 Blog

Most Popular Posts

Ask the Trainer

Comment Guidelines

Thanks for visiting the Prime of Life Fitness blog, Fitness Over 40. I hope you'll come back often and share your thoughts in the comments.

A blog is a public forum of sorts, but I value all my guests, and I want everyone to feel comfortable here, so there are just a few rules I ask you to follow in your comments.

  • We all have more fun and get more out of the conversation when we're on our best behavior.
  • Diverse opinions and constructive criticism are welcome, but trolls and jerks are not.
  • Please try to state your opinions in a way that's not offensive, rude or incendiary, and if you disagree with a post or another commenter, please do so civilly.
  • Your questions and comments about your own personal fitness journey are especially welcome.
  • All comments are curated to prevent spam, so there may be a delay of several hours before your comment appears.
  • Comments may be edited for grammar and spelling, and may be removed at any time.
Thanks again for joining the conversation!