Balance is important for everyday activities such as walking, getting out of your chair, washing your hair, putting on your shoes and getting out of bed.
Most people don’t think about balance until a problem develops. Balance is a use it or lose it and you will want to stay active to maintain your balance.
You might be surprised to know that our muscles start to weaken gradually around the age of 30.
So, what is balance exactly?
Balance is the ability to evenly distribute your weight. This enables you to remain upright and steady.
There are two forms of balance:
- Static balance the ability to maintain equilibrium when not moving
- Dynamic balance maintaining equilibrium when moving
A properly functioning balance system allows you to determine direction, speed, and helps you to adjust to maintain posture and stability in activities and conditions.
How well you maintain balance in your 30’s and 40’s will protect you for what lies ahead.
What makes up our balance
Balance is a complex process that depends on three components:
- Your sensory system helps your body accurately know where it is in relation to your environment and includes the senses of your feet, ankles, joints, your vision and the inner ear.
- Your brain’s ability to process the information
- The muscles and joints to coordinate the movement required to keep your balance
These all work in harmony with your brain.
The aging process produces changes in our bodies mainly from the loss of hormones, estrogen and testosterone.
One in three adults over the age of 65 takes a tumble each year. About 20% will fracture a hip. So, you can see why working on balance is so important.
And it’s never too early to start.
Here are some simple exercises that you can start with right away to help maintain or improve your balance.
- Heel to toe – Grab the back of a chair and practice standing still and letting go of the chair. You can also do this walking just like when you get stopped for a sobriety check. Take 20 steps forward and then 20 steps backward.
- Practice squatting as if you were sitting in a chair. If you feel unsteady put a chair behind you and practice sitting and standing. Strong legs will keep you from a fall in case you stumble. Make sure your keeping your knees right over your ankles. When you get good at this, you can keep your arms out to the side and do it without the chair. Stop when knees are parallel to the floor.
- Stand on one foot and lift the other foot off the floor. Again, you may want to have a chair available for support in case you start to fall. Repeat on both sides with your eyes open and again with your eyes closed.
Yoga, Tai Chi, aquatic exercise and dancing are all great tools to help maintain balance.
Modify exercises, practice and stay active.
The great news is if you’ve lost part of your balance or fear falling, with practice you will improve.
- 1/2 mango, peeled, seed removed
- 1/8 tsp. natural coconut extract
- 1/2 banana, cut in chunks, frozen
- 4 strawberries, frozen
- 6 ice cubes
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 Scoop of Protein powder (optional) for added protein
In a blender, process all the ingredients until thoroughly mixed and serve.