“How Can I Improve My Balance?”
That’s a common question and a viable concern. Each year one in 3 adults over 65 years takes a fall and almost 1/3 of those falls result in injuries.
Fear of Falling Creates Falls
Observe children’s movement patterns to quickly realize the difference in “grownup” habits. Children are unrestrained by fear.
When adults develop a fear of falling they limit activities, further decreasing mobility and strength. After a fall, it’s worse. Fear becomes a major contributor to more falls because of the body’s rigidity from apprehension and lack of confidence.
An improved sense of balance creates the confidence needed to be more active.
Isn’t that a double-edged sword! “If I do more, I’m more likely to fall!”
Nonetheless, inactivity WILL increase the likelihood of falling.
Steps to Improve Balance
- PHYSICAL EXAMS
- The brain requires proper signals for balance. Check eyes, ears, and medications. If vision is poor, there’s an inner ear disorder, or senses are dulled by medication(s), address these issues first.
- Do home exercises or find a qualified Balance Class. Good exercises include ankle mobility as well as leg and core strengthening. Build core strength by sitting up tall.
- Get a posture assessment or do a self-test and make improvements ASAP. Practice in front of a mirror to position shoulders over hips. Find and keep the lumbar curve in the lower spine.
- TAKE CONTROLLED RISKS
- Practice balance while holding something STABLE (not necessarily a chair). Hold onto the kitchen sink to practice lunges. Strength training with hand weights is excellent.
- BE MINDFUL
- Be safe during turns and twists. Be careful not to reach sideways for objects or pick up items with poor spinal alignment. Get out of chairs mindfully, positioning feet correctly before arising.
- WAKE UP YOUR FEET
- Feet are numbed with the use of shoes. Get foot massages. Learn techniques to massage and activate the feet. Use a proprioceptive mat or insoles to wake up the sensations of toes and feet. Go barefoot on grass for a portion of the day if possible.
WORK on Balance
Loss of balance doesn’t have to correlate to aging. Work on balance daily. Increase the activities that feel safe but continue to challenge and strengthen the body. Practice balance exercises.
The expression, “Use it or lose it” is THE TRUTH.
Share your thoughts in the comment box below…
Do YOU practice balance daily?
Are you more fearful now than when you were younger?