Monday, July 31, 2023

How To Maintain Your Balance As You Age.

Let's face it.  We all age and as we age our balance and flexibility can change.  It is important to maintain your ability to balance since having a good balance can help prevent falls.  The thing about balance is that your body is constantly gathering information from your eyes, muscles, joints, and tendons, and the inner ear.  

The eyes help your orient yourself in space while the muscles, joints, and tendons help the body sense its own movement, location, and actions.  The inner ear provides information about the location of the head, spatial orientation, and motion.  

The brain takes the information from all three locations and uses it to stand, move, stay balanced and perform tasks. Furthermore, the other two parts of balance is strength and flexibility because they help the body stay upright and properly balanced. It has been found that most people begin experiencing a decline in their ability to balance by the age of 50.  That being said, your body also begins losing muscle strength in your 30's and this can lead to issues with balance as you age.

Therefore, one should incorporate exercises and movements to help improve your balance as you age. Balance training helps your improve your equilibrium while improving your ability to recover from situations that make your balance unstable.  There are several activities one can easily do at home to help improve or at least maintain balance.  Begin by standing on one foot for 10 seconds and then do the other foot.  Always do several rotations and as you become more stable, extend the time you balance on each foot.

Another possibility is to stand with both feet about hip width apart.  Then slowly turn your head from side to side, then up and down for a total of about 30 seconds.  Be sure to keep your body still as you do this exercise. If needed, hold on to something to help your balance.  As you become better at this, begin repeating the exercise multiple times.

Think about practicing your sitting and standing.  Sit in a chair with your knees bent.  Then, slowly raise your body off the chair into a standing position without swinging your torso or using your hands to help get you started.  Repeat this exercise at least 10 times.  In addition to helping with your balance, this is excellent for strengthening your legs.  

Of course you could always march in place.  Begin this by standing so your feet are about hip width apart. Lift one knee so the thigh is parallel to the floor while keeping your posture straight and your core tight.  Let the leg drop slowly to the ground, and then bring your other knee up so the thigh is parallel to the ground then bring down.  Repeat the whole exercise for 20 times.  If you need to hold onto something, do so and as you improve your balance, you can quit holding on.

One of my favorite exercises is to stand on one foot, Lift the other leg slowly in front of you as high as in comfortable, the bring it down.  Then lift your leg to the side slowly, bring it down and finally extend your leg behind you as high as you can before returning it to the ground.  Repeat this on the other side.  Do as many of these as you can and over time you will improve your balance.

Another exercise is to face the wall at one side of the room.  Move one foot out to the side, and bring the other foot to join it.  Repeat this across the room and when you get to the end, repeat the other direction until you return to where you begin.  If you need to hold on to something, please do so and as you improve, you will be able to do it without the support.

Finally, walk across the room using the heel to toe step.  In other words, place one foot down, then take the other foot and place it so the heel meets the toe of the other foot, The next step requires you to take the foot that is behind and move it in front so it's heel touches the toe of the previous foot.  Continue for 30 seconds.

Practice these everyday or every other day and you'll help preserve your balance as you age.  Remember, you are never too young to begin doing this or too old to start.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment