"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Our best balance enhancers

One in three people age 65 and older will experience a fall. It's time to evaluate your balance and improve it.

Photo: Jacob Emmentorp Lund/iStock

Unfortunately, imbalance is a standard reason behind falls, sending hundreds of thousands of individuals to emergency departments within the United States annually with broken hips and head injuries. But there are various things you'll be able to do to enhance your balance. The strategies below are probably the most effective.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy for balance focuses on the joints and the brain's ability to speak, the balance system within the ear (vestibular system) and vision. “We coordinate all three with exercises like standing on one foot, first with eyes open, and then with eyes closed. We work on joint flexibility, walking, and lower-extremity exercises on one or both legs,” says Moritz. also work.” . Other exercises that improve balance include chair stands (see “Move of the Month”) and squats. Make sure you train before trying these exercises at home.

Muscle strength

“Core strength is critical to balance. If the abdominal muscles in your core are weak, they can't support your limbs, especially when you're walking. Be able to propel you forward,” says Moritz. May help strengthen muscles. Moritz recommends starting with light basic exercises like pelvic tilts (lying on the ground together with your knees bent, then rolling your pelvis upward) after which moving on to more intense exercises like wall planks (standing six inches from a wall while keeping your body still). (tight, then lean forward together with your arms flat against the wall, and hold the position for 20 seconds). Leg lifts strengthen the gluteal muscles, and adding a resistance band to leg lifts makes the exercise even more practical.

Tai Chi and Yoga

“Tai chi and yoga are exercises that force you to focus on the control and quality of movement rather than quantity, which improves your balance,” says Moritz. In tai chi, you practice slow, flowing movements and shift your weight from limb to limb. Yoga involves a series of focused postures and respiration. Both exercises increase flexibility, range of motion, leg and core strength, and reflexes. The result: You turn out to be higher at balancing in many various positions, which helps you avoid falling in case you encounter uneven floors or obstacles in your path.

Correction of vision

“If you can't see where you're going, your risk of falling increases,” says Moritz. “A lot of people I treat for balance are here because they slipped when they didn't see anything on the floor.” The fix might be so simple as a brand new prescription for the precise lenses. Every one or two years in case you're 65 or older, each one to a few years in case you're 55 to 64, and each two to 4 years in case you're 40 to 54. As your risk for other eye conditions increases, you might need more frequent eye exams.

Assistive devices for walking

A cane or walker can improve your balance and provide you with more stability and confidence. But don't buy a tool on your personal. “If it's too high or too low, it can cause falls. You need to measure it, and you need training to learn to use it,” says Moritz. Training consists of only a number of physical therapy sessions. Walkers can be found with wheels for various terrains, lockable brakes, seats, baskets, and other features equivalent to headlights. The can is obtainable with different hand grips and bases.

Movement of the Month: Chairstand

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This exercise strengthens the legs, hips and stomach. This might be done using a kitchen or table chair, or perhaps a sofa.

1. Sit in a chair together with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands in your thighs.

2. Tighten your glutes and abdominal muscles. Exhale as you slowly get up.

3. Inhale and slowly sit up. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

© Michael Carroll Photography.