The Importance of Balance
Having good balance is important for many activities we do every day. It is important in going up and down stairs, avoiding tripping and when needing to make sudden moves to avoid falling. Balance can be more difficult as we age, if we have orthopedic issues, have had a stroke or when obese.
The ability to maintain balance involves the several of our body’s sensory systems, including visual, inner ear and muscle receptors that help us monitor our body’s position. If you have extreme balance issues it is best to be checked by your doctor and perhaps a physical therapist with a specialty in balance.
Along with specific balance exercises that help maintain muscle strength, core strength and coordination through exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your chance of falling and feeling most secure with movement.
You can try balance exercises anywhere at any time. If you’re trying to improve your balance, you must do them consistently for three or more days a week. If you enjoy classes to help with balance, Tai Chi and Yoga can be great options.
When doing specific balance exercises, initially start by having a chair or wall nearby to hold on to. Beginning exercises include:
- Standing on one leg and holding it for a minimum of 10 seconds
- Walk heel to toe for 20 steps both forward and backward as able
- Walk sideways for 20 steps
- Walking on your toes and then your heels for 20 steps
Start where you are able, and progress slowly over time to more advanced exercises. This will help you feel secure with your daily needed activities and more.