When we first learn to walk, balance is a critical component for making the first treck across the den to the cheers of our parents – but as a Senior, where are the cheers now as we successfully cross the room? As everything comes full circle in life, the balance we needed as a baby to walk is coming into play again as older Seniors are needing balance to make their way around the house, or venturing out with friends. Although AgingTopic has published blogs on various tips and tricks for preventing falls with home improvements (https://agingtopic.com/small-steps-now-to-age-in-place-later/), an equally critical piece is to improve your own balance with easy exercises to strengthen muscles as well as re-train your brain to focus on balance.
Having not reached 60 years yet, I was surprised when tested for balance with a very simple exercise which I failed miserably… Anyone reading this should seriously give it a try. Of course we need to mention our side note; you should have someone standing nearby to help prevent a fall or injury. OK, it’s in two parts: 1) Standing up, stretch your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height and keep them there, then bring one foot behind you, bending at the knee, with the foot raised as much as you like off the ground and hold it there for 15 seconds. If you’re like me, that one is easy as I stared straight ahead and focused on balance. After all, it was just 15 seconds… 2) Give yourself a rest and then do it again but this time with your eyes closed. You can’t open your eyes during those 15 seconds. If you touch your toe to the ground during those 15 seconds to regain balance, you have to start over again. You will most likely wobble and lean and swerve as you try to keep your balance without your vision being able to focus on a point ahead of you. It took me several tries before I could go 15 seconds with my eyes shut, without touching the ground with that raised foot.
The good news is that once you master such a simple 15 second exercise, it’s one of several ways to re-train your brain for balance, along with other easy exercises to build your strength up to prevent falls and injuries while also enjoying far more mobility for every-day activities. Give THIS a quick read for more good ideas, and share it with your friends and family too. For fun, play the balance trick above with the whole family, and have a competition that will likely create some good laughs this summer!