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A Crash Course In How To Take A Fall In The Outdoors

By Editor | September 2, 2008

How to take a fall, outdoor activities

Falling is a natural by-product of both genetic clutziness and pushing the limits of your skills. In many outdoor sports, hitting the ground is how we improve, so it only makes sense that we should also try to learn how to fall with style and grace.

With any type of fall, you want to bend but not break. So when you reach the point of no return, accept the fact that you’re going to hit the earth hard and relax your body. Use your arms to absorb the initial shock, but remember that any strike felt by the hands is amplified at the shoulders and increases the chance of injury. Bend your arms and spread the hit across your forearms instead.

A forearm strike deflects the energy of the impact across a greater surface area and also puts you in position to finish a downhill fall with a complete shoulder roll. Because a successful roll ends feet first, your head and internal organs will be better protected as you slide to a stop on your back. Then check your inventory and dust yourself off, before announcing: “I meant to do that.”

MOUNTAIN BIKING: Try to get clear of your bike and avoid being belted by 24 pounds of aluminum. If you’re going over the handlebars, aim for the softest landing. Keep your arms out, elbows unlocked and hands in a fist. As your arms absorb the impact, tuck your chin to your chest and roll onto your shoulders.

BACKPACKING: Awkward falls with a full pack are as bad as it gets. You won’t be able to shoulder roll, and the force of 50 extra pounds can snap a wrist or an ankle. Try for a glancing shot by angling to the side as you fall and letting your pack take the hit. And think about bringing trekking poles on your next trip.

SKIING: Because the terrain is either at a downhill resort or on a track-set cross-country trail, is often slippery, use it to your advantage. The moment you hit the snow, relax and let your body “raq doll” down the slope. This will slow you down and minimize limb-jarring tumbles.

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Topics: Articles, Camping, Hiking and Backpacking, Cycling, Snow Sports, Survival | 224 Comments »

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