Keeping your balance and why it’s important.
Here’s the low-down on balance – after the age of 25 your balance begins to decline.
And you thought it was an old age thing! It will become a problem if you don’t keep your balance tuned up. After the age of 65, 1 in 3 people will fall doing normal activities, usually breaking or fracturing a bone. If you routinely work on your balance, by the time you’re 65 you will have decreased your chance of a fall after the age of 65 by 45%.
Want to test your balance?
- Stand next to something you can grab in case you topple over
- Close your eyes and raise one leg off the ground, bending it at the knee like a stork
- Balance on the other foot
- Count out loud the number of seconds you are able to balance before toppling
- If you balanced for more than 22 seconds you have the balance of a 20-something; 15 seconds and you’re as balanced as a 30-year-old; 7 seconds you’re in the 40-year-old range; 3.7 seconds you’re balancing like a 50-year- old and if you fell over right away you are at 60 in ‘balance years’.
The science behind balance:
Keeping the body well balanced involves information the brain receives from the eyes, your core, and the vestibular organs in the inner ears. These three sources send information in the form of nerve impulses from sensory receptors to your brain.
Balance training is important to keep all three input sources in good working order.
Other benefits are better posture, less back pain, improved exercise and athletic performance and of course, a greatly reduced risk of falls and injuries.
How to improve balance:
- Repeat the test you took earlier until you have mastered it
- Now try balancing like a stork and swinging your arms
- When this is easy, hold water bottles or light weights
- Try walking heel-to-toe along a straight line
- Try the steps above while standing on a surface that is smaller than your foot, or one that tips like an inflatable balance disc
- Keep your core strong and fit
- Keep moving! Walking is important.
- Increase your flexibility by stretching often.
Hint: I find it much easier to balance if I focus on a stationary object to start. Closing my eyes comes later.
Support your healthy lifestyle efforts with an inexpensive and easy-to-store home gym. Here are some ASE recommendations;