A Sense of Balance
A tendency to fall is clearly an issue for everyone but as we age, it is particularly important that we have good balance. For the older person, falling is more likely to result in bone fracture requiring stays in hospital, long rehabilitation and in some cases, even loss of life.
Time how long you can stand on one leg with your eyes closed. Make sure you are close to a wall or other stable object in case you need to grab hold of something to recover your balance!
If you struggle to complete 30 seconds with your eyes closed when you tried the test above, you need to start training to improve your balance now. You don’t have to do anything too complicated, try to frequently practice some or all of the following activities:
– go barefoot indoors
– practice standing on one leg with eyes open and closed, then try shifting your body weight between front and back of the standing foot (use left and right legs equally)
– walk using a heel-to-toe pattern as if on a tightrope and then add in turns of the head from left to right (trickier than you might expect so extend your arms wide to start)
– any activity outdoors and on uneven ground from walking to cycling and running with varied terrain, from flat to hills
– build balance into your exercise routines, for example by working with single leg squats rather than the double legged version
– attend an exercise class where balance moves are performed as part of a good practice standard
Balance and mental health seem to be connected too, so it may be no co-incidence that when experiencing strong emotions, we may describe ourselves as “having a bit of a wobble”. Although there’s little research evidence available at present, it’s possible that improving balance could in turn benefit mental health. There is, however plenty of evidence to indicate that any form of physical activity will help to reduce the incidence of low mood.
Why not put your best foot forward and sign up for FitActive’s online Fit in 45 class?
Using just an internet connection and some no-fuss equipment
Join live classes or catch up with recorded versions
You will find yourself feeling better balanced in mind, body and soul!
Source: “Out of Balance” New Scientist 10 October 2020, Caroline Williams