Balance to Maintain Stability

Although there are some changes one can’t avoid including deterioration of your hearing, vision, and coordination, research suggests that its worth taking steps even risking a few missteps to slow the decline in one’s balance.

Loss of balance makes us vulnerable to falls, which can be dangerous at any age.  Falls are the fifth leading cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

As an Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer and Titleist Performance Instructor, I think its smart to start working on exercises that address balance and stability ;Exercises that are designed to challenge the complex system of reflexes that govern our stability and spatial orientation.

Many people are surprised to find out how their balance declines over time, and individuals often underestimate how important balance is to navigating the hazards in their daily lives, from escalators to uneven sidewalks and grassy hills.

Many people don’t think about balance when they think about their exercise routines.  Most think of weight loss, or they want to get ready for a wedding or reunion or something.  Whether you’re preparing for an event or doing your regular exercise routine you should include exercises that address balance.  Doing so has the added advantage of helping with weight loss due to the large muscles groups working to assist with stability, therefore enhancing the caloric expenditure.

Initially everyone should start with balancing exercises on the floor with one foot, before progressing to challenging equipment.

The following are a few of the products aimed at different levels of fitness and expertise:

Balance Pads, Bosu Ball, Dyna Disc, Bongo Board and there are other products being created for people whose balance has decreased, whether through age or illness, and are geared towards preventing falls.

Some of the low tech approaches you can incorporate into your everyday lives include standing on a pillow, walking on grass as opposed to concrete, or looking around and moving your head while walking as opposed to looking straight, standing on one leg in various poses, which you can do anywhere waiting for the bus, or brushing your teeth, in the bathroom all of which challenge and improve your balance.

The take away message is clear:  To Maintain Stability as you get older, you need to challenge Balance.

About fairfaxep

M.S. Exercise Physiology National Strength and Conditioning Assoc. CSCS Titleist Performance Instructor
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