Improve Your Balance

Why is balance so important? What can we do to improve our balance?

Tai Chi graphic

In life, we find ourselves seeking balance, between work, finances, relationships,  our diet and exercise. As we age, it becomes imperative that we really learn how to Balance… in the literal sense as falls can have greater consequences. According to Harvard Health, more than 90% of all hip fractures are due to falls. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. Worse still, the fear of falling causes many people to avoid the very activities that improve  reflexes essential to good balance.

Many factors that contribute to loss of balance; weak muscles, poor vision, and hearing loss, to name a few. However balance, just like strength and flexibility, can improve with stimulus and challenge. If you’re an active person, most likely you are already engaging in activities that help sharpen your balance, such as walking, biking, hiking, climbing stairs which strengthen muscles in your lower body. But what are some other ways we can improve our balance?

  • A stationary bike or stair stepper is a safe way to start if your balance needs a lot of work.

  • Stretching loosens tight muscles, which can affect posture and balance.

  • Yoga strengthens and stretches tight muscles while challenging your static and dynamic balance skills.

  • Tai chi, which involves gradual shifts of weight from one foot to another combined with rotating the trunk and extending the limbs, offer a series of challenges to improve your balance.

Your body’s ability to balance while doing a variety of things is pretty amazing. Even when you’re not thinking about it, your body is balancing – whether you are exercising, or simply performing daily tasks. Try incorporating simple balancing moves all day long. While you’re standing in line, try to balance on one leg for as long as you can. To make it harder, close your eyes!