As the years accumulate and we “act like adults” as we have been taught, we no longer take part in activities that require us to hop, skip, tumble, roll, run and swing like we did when we were kids on the playground or in the yard. Because we no longer participate in activities that require balance, we lose strength, coordination and response time. The ability to remain in equilibrium (or stay upright) while interacting with our environment is the very definition of balance.
Here’s a quick test to see if you have good balance or if you need to improve it. Stand next to a high-back chair or counter. Lift one foot off of the floor and hold it up as long as possible. Try the test on both sides. Sometimes one side will be better than the other. If you can stand straight, not wobble and hold it for 60 seconds or more, you have great balance. If you have to touch the chair or hold on to it, if you have to keep putting your foot down to stabilize yourself, or if you are unable to lift your foot off the floor, you should probably think about doing some exercises to help strengthen your balance muscles so that you can greatly reduce your risk of falling.
Aging-related risk factors for falling (decreased muscle strength/endurance, poor posture, slower reaction time, loss of joint flexibility and mobility, poor circulation, fear of falling) can be reduced or reversed with the proper amount and kind of exercise. There are also different measures you can take to prevent some of these issues from occurring. For example, you could look at the causes of poor circulation and see what other condition you may have that’s also causing it. Doing this can help you plan out a more thorough care plan.
To start becoming better balanced, regain your confidence and improve your chances of staying upright, enlist the help of a certified personal trainer. In Sun Lakes, Julia Johnson with Life in Motion Fitness is certified in Balance Training for Older Adults and will come to your home to take you safely through a program designed to improve your balance. For those living in Palo Verde and Cottonwood, Julia provides sessions at the PVCW Fitness Center.
No matter your age today, you can greatly benefit from starting a supervised exercise plan. Don’t ignore the fact that having good balance is very important. You don’t have to be afraid of falling!
If you want to bring balance, strength and stamina back into your life, if you’re ready to enjoy being active or if you simply want to feel better, call Julia at 480-264-9567 for your free consultation. You may also visit Julia’s website for more information at www.LifeInMotionFitness.com.