In 1981, stunt man Dar Robinson earned a world record for a 220-foot freefall — a feat which was shot for a Burt Reynolds flick. It’s a record that’s still unbroken nearly forty years later. Stuntmen like Robinson make a living knowing how to fall without getting hurt. The same goes for actors and professional wrestlers, who may have to fall dozens of times in a single scene or fight.
Learning to fall like these professionals is an incredibly useful skill, especially if you practice it enough so that it becomes second nature. Because let’s face it: If you head out on enough adventures, you’re sure to have a misstep or two. Whether you’re crossing a creek on slick, mossy rocks or simply navigating icy city streets, losing your footing is a real risk. If you do fall, knowing a few techniques to protect your body can significantly reduce the likelihood of a severe injury. (An ounce of prevention is of course worth even more; regularly use these balance exercises to reduce your chances of falling in the first place.)
Head, wrist, and hand injuries are the most common when it comes to falls. That’s because as we lose our balance, our heads tend to lead, and we naturally reach out with our arms to break our fall. But, all that weight landing on your wrists is far more likely to give you a broken bone than a comfy fall. With that in mind, here are a few strategies to help protect your body if you find yourself free fallin’.