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Good News: You can improve your balance as you age

Balance is your ability hold a steady position or move at will without falling. 

 

In an earlier blog post, I encouraged you to walk on the cobblestones and beaches of Puerto Vallarta. As an easy way to start moving.

I also mentioned that you might want to work on your balance before you start your new walking routine. You may have the hidden disease of “lost balance” that afflicts many seniors.

Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions. 

Have you ever fallen on the cobblestones and uneven sidewalks of Puerto Vallarta? After your fall, are you less likely to get out and walk on those cobblestones and uneven sidewalks?

You are not alone. Falling is scary. A simple fall can cause bruises, broken bones, and even death. One in four Americans aged 65 or older falls each year. Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions. Falls are the leading cause of death for older adults. 

Balance is your ability hold a steady position or move at will without falling. It comes from a combination of factors. Including muscle strength, visual inputs, the inner ear, and your nervous system.

As you age, your balance can decline and cause you to become less stable on your feet. If you feel unsteady, you may curtail certain activities. If you start to limit your activities, your ability to balance declines further. It’s a vicious cycle. 

Falls can happen on the cobblestones and beaches of Puerto Vallarta. But “lost balance” disease is not inevitable. And it is reversible. You can improve your balance and reduce the risk of falling by practicing your balance! It’s easy and you will see results quickly!

Note: If you have balance issues as the result of an illness or your medication, check with your doctor. Practicing your balance may not be a solution.

 

Balancing on one foot is an effective way to improve and restore your balance.

Are you ready to preserve and improve your balance? If so, you can practice this simple but effective movement. 

BALANCING ON ONE FOOT

NOTE. Do NOT try this if you have a medical condition that affects your balance. Check with your doctor first.

  1. Create a safe space, with a chair, table, shopping cart, or other safety support nearby. Make sure the area is clear of obstructions
  2. Start standing in good posture. Feet parallel, toes pointing forward, ankles, knees, shoulders and ears stacked.
  3. Breathe in. Breathe out. Become aware of your breath.
  4. Bend both knees slightly. Hinge forward (slightly) with a flat back.
  5. Move your right leg behind you with your big toe a few inches behind your left heel.
  6. Lift your right foot about 3 inches off the ground.
  7. Balance on your standing leg.
  8. If you can, let your arms and torso move freely.
  9. Reach for the wall or chair or other support if you need to. Return to no hands balance when you can.
  10. Stay for 60 seconds or more, if you can. With practice, the time will get longer.
  11. Repeat on the other side.
  12. NOTE: When you are ready, challenge yourself. Add the Short Foot move I described last week on your standing foot.

Summing Up:

Aging dulls our balance senses. We are more likely to fall. But loss of balance is not inevitable. You can preserve and reverse balance instability by practicing your balance. Standing on one foot is a great way to practice your balance.

[Medical Disclaimer: This article is for education and information only. It is not a substitute for a doctor’s opinion.] 

Photo 26714265 © Robert Bayer – Dreamstime.com 

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