Yet one more issue to add to the list of things that can creep up on us as we age: balance. While balance issues are commonly associated with the aging process, it is not a given that we should just throw in the towel and shrug it off as inevitable.
It is important to understand the factors that affect balance as well as learning what you can to minimize balance issues and even re-gain lost balance to improve your stability.
Balance requires the interaction between your inner ear, your vision, and the muscles and joints from your feet up through your spine. The brain processes the information transmitted from each of these areas and gives your body the information needed to manage balance. When all three are working well, you have a good sense of your spatial positioning.
The aging process causes loss of muscle mass, overall strength, fading eyesight, and the decline of inner ear functioning. When one or all three of these areas are degenerating, your brain signals are thrown off and balance is adversely affected.
It stands to reason that improving muscle mass and practicing balance exercises can not only arrest further balance loss, but even re-gain levels of balance already sacrificed.
The foremost predictor of frailty in old age is a weak quadricep or thigh muscle. Daily squats and balance exercises can all make a significant difference to your balance.
General strength training helps to maintain Type II muscle fibers, the muscles that are needed to help us shift our weight to prevent falls.
Here are some foundational balance exercises to get you on the road to re-gaining loss balance and also reducing any more loss in your balance.
- Any core building exercises such as planks and bridging.
- General weight training or resistance-band workouts.
- Walking with one foot directly in front of the other and standing on one foot are two exercises that can be done daily while brushing your teeth!
- Bosu ball exercises to build dynamic balance.
Remember that a vital, healthy life includes confidence and strength for fun, new adventures ahead. Maintaining and building good balance is the place to start.