Remember playing? Remember balancing on anything you could find as a child; a balance beam, a fallen tree, the sidewalk curb and cracks in the street? We would challenge our friends to see who could balance the longest without falling, maybe even close our eyes to make it even harder. Do you still find yourself discovering fun ways to challenge your balance as you get older?
If not, you definitely should be!
No matter what age, balance training is critical for 3 main reasons.
- helps prevent falls at any age
- helps to fight the tendency to loose our balance as we age
- improves the ever-important butt muscle power and core strength.
We spend a lot of our day doing one-legged activities, which require one important ingredient – balance. Bet you never realized walking is a one-legged activity! Going up and down stairs is another frequent one-legged activity. A 2018 study reported that in 2016-2017 almost 654,000 emergency department visits were for accidental falls. We should be doing everything that we can to make sure we are able to do (and remain able to do) our daily activities, safely, well into our golden years!
As we age, balance can tend to worsen, and we can prevent this! A recent Ottawa Citizen article states that falls are the main reason that seniors move into long-term care homes and that falls cost the Ontario Health System an estimated $1 billion annually. When we have better balance, falls become less frequent, less traumatic, and less costly.
Lastly, balance training makes your butt muscles more powerful. Your butt muscles can often weaken due to the amount of time we spend sitting. Strong butt muscles help with better posture, mobility, stability and better balance… we want to activate those muscles! One way to get those Glutei firing is to perform a one-legged balance training exercise.
Balance training is as simple as standing on one leg.
- Create a safe environment, with a level surface and no obstacles in the way.
- Stand in a corner, or in a doorway, to have support on either side (if you need less support, stand beside a wall or in a free space).
- Raise one knee up to 90º in front of your body.
- Place hand(s) on a wall for support if needed, or out to the side.
- Focus your eyes on a distant, non-moving object.
Challenge yourself! Record a baseline of how long you can comfortably keep this one-legged position, and over time you can note the improvements in your balance. Start small and build over time.
With practice, your time will lengthen and less support will be required. You can also fit balance training into other parts of your day – while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes or stand up during TV commercial breaks.
Add some fun into your balance training – challenge your spouse, friends, kids, or grandkids! Make balance training a part of your everyday life and set a goal of 30 seconds, no matter your age.
Avoid falls, make daily activities easier, and hang onto mobility as you age.
If you find you are struggling or just can’t seem to improve over time, give us a call. Poor balance can be a result of poor posture and alignment, and/or poor butt muscle power, which can be caused by pelvic misalignment.
Help is simply a phone call away.