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Balance and Stability


Posted by Sheryl A.

There was an interesting article the other day in The New York Times about an often overlooked, but very important aspect of fitness – balance and stability: Check out the Times Article. One in 3 Americans over age 65 suffers a fall and our balance starts its decline when we are in our 20s. I’m glad that The Times highlighted the importance of this.
 
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Wow... thanks for posting. That's good to know. He mentioned a bunch of exercises you can to to improve your balance...

"Two main routes improve balance — exercises that increase the strength of the ankle, knee and hip muscles and exercises that improve the function of the vestibular system.

Like one-leg stands, many can be done as part of a daily routine. Dr. Moffat recommends starting with strength exercises and, as you improve, adding vestibular training by doing some of them with closed eyes.

Sit-to-stand exercises once or twice a day increase ankle, leg and hip strength and help the body adjust to changes in position without becoming dizzy after being sedentary for a long time. Sit straight in a firm chair (do not lean against the back) with arms crossed. Stand up straight and sit down again as quickly as you can without using your arms. Repeat the exercise three times and build to 10 repetitions.

Heel-to-toe tandem walking is another anytime exercise, resembling plank walking popular with young children. It is best done on a firm, uncarpeted floor. With stomach muscles tight and chin tucked in, place one foot in front of the other such that the heel of the front foot nearly touches the toe of the back foot. Walk 10 or more feet and repeat the exercise once or twice a day.

Also try walking on your toes and then walking on your heels to strengthen your ankles.

Another helpful exercise is sidestepping. Facing a wall, step sideways with one leg (bring the other foot to it) 10 times in each direction. After mastering that, try a dancelike maneuver that starts with sidestepping once to the right. Then cross the left leg behind, sidestep to the right again and cross the left leg in front. Repeat this 10 times. Then do it in the other direction.

In addition, the slow, continuous movements of tai chi, that popular Chinese exercise, have been shown in scientific studies to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls."

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