Have you ever watched a baby learning to sit up, crawl, or walk? It’s fascinating (and often amusing) to watch our balance develop from the beginning. Babies who are first learning to sit up will simply fall over, and new walkers fall often in their quest to move about on two legs. It’s all part of developing the muscles involved in balance.
But babies have a natural “padding” that older adults typically lack, their proportions make them much closer to the ground… and they certainly don’t have to worry about fractures.
Today you’ll discover that it’s never too late to improve your balance. In fact, it’s a lot easier than you might think, so get ready to lose your…
Fear of Falling
As adults, we tend to fear falling. And doctors typically push osteoporosis medications based on the erroneous argument that drugs are essential to prevent the dreaded fractures that can result if we fall.
Ironically, osteoporosis drugs actually increase the risk of fractures by making bones harder and less supple. And as ridiculous as it may sound, bisphosphonates actually list dizziness as one of their many side effects that can impair rather then help balance.
The Eyes Have It
Balance is automatic for most of us. When you stand up and walk across the room, for instance, you don’t have to think through all the muscles involved and consciously tell each body part to work with the other to keep you upright. It’s a good thing, too, because balance is actually a rather complex process. And your vision is a significant part of it.
Your eyesight works with your inner ear and proprioceptive system, which signals your joints and muscles send your brain when you move, to prevent you from falling. If you close your eyes – and I don’t recommend trying this unless you are holding onto something and standing still – you’ll find it’s harder to balance. The same is true if you move your head and eyes around – it’s easier to stay balanced if you keep your eyes focused on a single point.
That brings us to our first balance technique:
#1: Standing with Your Eyes Closed
Stand somewhere safe, such as near your bed, and stand totally still and straight. Then, without moving or changing position, close your eyes. You will probably be surprised at how challenging it can be to stand still with your eyes closed! Once you get comfortable with this, try balancing on one leg with your eyes closed.
If you’re already brushing like a flamingo, this is yet one more challenge you can try. Simply lift one of your legs slowly, raising your knee up as far as you are comfortable with, and hold it for as long as you comfortably can to a maximum of 60 seconds. Then slowly lower your foot back down and switch legs. Just make sure you have something stable to grab on to if needed.
But you don’t have to just stand there! To improve your balance, you can also…
Studies have shown that a dance-based therapy program improved walking speed and balance in older adults. One study in particular demonstrated that participants experienced both improved gait and balance.1 As my readers know, I believe that lifting the spirits and doing something you enjoy are important components to bone health.
#3: Practice Exercises That Improve Your Balance And Muscle Tone
The smartest way to improve balance is to practice certain moves that improve coordination and strengthen your muscles. If you already own Densercise, you’ll be happy to know that the exercises will help you not only increase your bone density, but also improve your balance.
With Densercise, you can do more than prevent and get rid of osteoporosis or osteopenia. You’ll achieve a full body workout that keeps you fit and strong. And there’s no better way to prevent falls!
I hope you will find these 3 ways to improve your balance helpful! I look forward to hearing from you about how you’ve employed one or more of these strategies.
Here in the Save Our Bones community, we’re all about balance – balanced diet, balanced bodies, and balanced minds. So stand tall and enjoy your health!
1 Krampe, Jean et al. “Dance-Based Therapy in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.” Nursing Administration Quarterly, 34(2):156-161, April/June 2010