How to Improve Your Balance?

April 14, 2015

Nationally syndicated columnist, Jim T. Miller, recently featured a number of different ways to improve your balance as you age.

Without proper attention and exercise your balance can begin to decline and cause a surprise fall.

More than one in three people age 65 years or older fall, and the chance of fall only increases there after. A surprise fall can cause serious injuries to your bone’s, joints, or your arms or hands breaking the fall. These injuries can result in disability, hospital visits, or decreased independence.

Your sense of balance is made from a combination of visual, muscles, your inner ear, and nerves in your muscles, joints, and tendons. All of theses messages are sent to your brain’s sensory context for a sense of balance. The aging process can begin to dull these senses and cause you to feel unsteady.

Once you feel these feeling of uneasiness your confidence and mobility can begin to decline. To keep your balance and coordination here are some basic balance exercises Miller recommends:

 

One Legged Stands

    Simply stand on one of your feet for 30 seconds, or longer, then alternate to your other foot. Miller suggests that this exercise can be easy while brushing your teeth or waiting for something. You might even want to stand against a chair or wall for added balance.

     

    Heel Rises

      In a standing position, stand up on your toes as far as you can. Then slowly drop down to your normal starting position and repeat this 10 to 20 times. For added intensity, hold light hand weights.

       

      Heel-Toe-Walk

        Take 20 steps while looking directly ahead (Similar to a field sobriety test)

         

        Sit-to-Stand-Walk 

          Without using your hands, stand up from a straight-backed chair and sit back 10 to 20 times. This exercise improves leg and balance strength.

           

          Tai Chi

            A recent study from Harvard Medical School found that Tai Chi could reduce falls in Seniors by up to 45 %. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Tai Chi was very effective for balance in those with Parkinson’s disease.

            The American Tai Chi Organization offers a convenient site to find out more information about the practice. Also, check your local Senior or Community centers for classes.

             

             Yoga 

              Yoga strengthens and stretches your muscles while increasing your coordination. Visit Yogafinder.com to find local classes near you. 

               

              For further online fall prevention information visit Live Oak's fall prevention resources section.

              And for more fall Prevention features visit Live Oak's  fall prevention blog.  




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