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How to Improve Your Balance As You Age

Balance is something we take for granted…until it becomes more difficult. As we age, something that once seemed so natural becomes a skill we need to work at regularly. It can be tempting to settle into a more sedentary lifestyle since when you’re seated, you don’t have to confront balance issues.

Our team knows there are things older adults can do to maintain good balance. With the right exercises, adults can avoid dangerous falls and remain active for many years. Here are a few tips to help you improve your balance during your golden years.

Strengthen Muscles

Muscle-strengthening exercises have many benefits, one of which is that they help boost your balance. This is especially true of the core-building exercises our team starts members on. Your body’s “core” muscles provide stability for the rest of your body, keeping you upright whether you’re walking or standing. Classes also focus on building your lower-leg muscles, both the gastrocnemius (and soleus to an extent) and tibialis anterior, which are the muscles that impact balance.

Participate in Regular Balance Exercises

In addition to making balance a part of strength-building classes, Our communities have several classes specific to balance. Participants work on exercises that challenge balance, such as standing on one leg, using a chair for stability if necessary. Agility exercises such as maneuvering around obstacles and stepping over hurdles can also help in a home setting since those challenges are often what lead to falls. We even use agility ladders to help participants strengthen their balancing skills.

Go For A Walk

That daily walk goes beyond merely strengthening your cardiovascular system. It’s one of the best balancing exercises you can do. Even those who rely heavily on canes or walkers can improve their balance by going for a walk. As you walk, your body is constantly using your built-in balance systems in order to keep you upright and moving in a straight line. Even if it’s a short walk to get the mail every day or a morning stroll at the local park, every little bit helps. The key is to stay active so that your body doesn’t get used to inactivity.

Prevent Falls at Home

The work continues long after you leave your fitness session. One of the best things you can do is remove all those unnecessary obstacles from your home. As attractive as that area rug is, it’s a tripping hazard, as are open-toed shoes. The more you can do to eliminate obstacles for your body, the better you can prevent falls. You can also perform short balance exercises every day, using a chair or counter for balance. Whether you continue to participate in fitness classes, or you do things on your own, if you have a regular routine that includes balance-building activities, you’ll find you significantly reduce your risks of an injury due to a fall.

We work with each member to create a customized plan. Whether you’re working one on one with a trainer or you’re participating in a class, you’ll build muscles in the right place while also boosting your body’s natural balance, helping keep you safe and active.

Topics: Health & Well-Being, Featured

Aaron Aslakson

Written by Aaron Aslakson

MA, CSCS, ACSM EP-C, NSCA-CPT | Exercise is Medicine® Credential Level II | Walker Methodist Director of Wellness Centers

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