Ever notice that as you age, you tend to lose your balance easier?
It’s a documented fact that age and inactivity can cause cognitive abilities to decline.
As cognitive abilities decline, balance loss occurs.
for the record: getting older can be kind of awesome
It seems like a small problem but the facts are actually quite staggering. Prepare to have your mind blown with these facts (or not… but for real… I was SHOCKED after reading these).
- 1 out 4 people over the age of 65 falls each year
- In 2015, total medical costs for falling totaled $50 million
- The leading cause of injury death in adults over 65 is falling
- 9% of those who suffer hip fractures die with in 30 days
- If you contract pneumonia, the death rate from falling raises to 43%
Balance is a BIG deal and requires a myriad of complex systems and senses to work together.
a very good boy
Muscle strength, visual inputs, the inner ear and a variety of nerves work together to orient you to your surroundings.
As you age, you have three things working against you to throw off balance:
- eyesight fades
- muscles’ lose the ability to sense surroundings
- hair cells in the inner ear die off and do not regenerate
The combination of those three things means you are more prone to falls.
who doesn’t like a good fall gif
However, all is not lost!
There are things you can practice (at home or otherwise) to help restore your balance
- One legged Standing
- Stand straight. Raise one leg, bending your knee to 45 degrees. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and then switch legs
- One Legged Standing with Arms
- Balance on one leg, with the torso straight, head up and hands on the hips.
- Visualize a clock and point your arm straight overhead to 12, then to the side at three, and then circle low and around to nine
- Heel to Toe Walking
- Take 20 steps heel to toe while looking straight ahead
- Pilates increases body stability and control making it a perfect low impact exercise for balance help
- Grapevine Walk
- Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent
- Cross your right foot in front of the left, continuing this pattern as you move to the left for ten to 15 steps
- Repeat in the opposite direction, crossing your left foot over the right
- Bosu Ball
- Practice standing on the bosu ball to really challenge your balance
- Gradually, you can move up to squats, one legged standing, etc
- Single Leg Deadlift
- Balance on your left foot, engage the abs and bend forward at the hips while reaching toward the ground with your right hand.
- Raise your right leg behind you for counterbalance.
- Tighten the buttocks as you return to the starting position. Keep your knee relaxed and your back flat throughout the movement. Switch legs
Work up slowly to these exercises but don’t avoid them!
The worst thing you can do is to create a cycle of poor balance due to inactivity.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “I’m not 65 yet so I don’t need to worry about this”, think again.
to be young and invincible again
Trust me 20 year olds reading this:
One day you’re out on a Sunday night drinking until 2am and getting up at to go to work without a care in the world.
The next day day the 2 glasses of wine you had with dinner means you’re feeling it for days.
Same goes with a balance! Balance is use it or lose it which means it’s important to incorporate daily activity to challenge that balance.