7 Ways to Improve Your Balance

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Working on your balance and coordination while you are still young can be very beneficial in your older age! After we hit 30, our muscles start to weaken if we don't work on them! Our stride becomes shorter, our pace becomes slower, our vision becomes fuzzier, and the muscles we use to stand tend to weaken! Balance is a use it or lose it type of thing, and you can definitely maintain it if you stay active. In about 10 minutes, you can help take steps to prevent falls later in life. About 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 experiences a serious fall each year. 20% of women who have fractured a hip become permanently disabled, and another 20% actually die within a year. Health problems due to hip fractures results in more female deaths each year than breast cancer! Here are 7 exercises than you can do in 10 minutes a day to avoid becoming one of the statistics!

Stand on one leg. You can do this anywhere, from being at the sink washing dishes, at work, or waiting for the subway. When you can hold the pose for 30 seconds on each side, try on a less stable surface. To make it even harder, do it with your eyes closed!

Balance on a wobble board. If you don't have a gym membership, and aren’t craft enough to make one yourself, invest in one! They range from $15 to $60. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, your core tight, and rock front to back, and then side to side for a minute at a time. Then work up to two minutes.

Tai Chi. Tai Chi classes are beneficial at every age, especially once you get older. When people start to fear losing their balance, they stop challenging themselves. Yoga and Tai Chi practitioners in their mid 60s scored in the 90th percentile on measures of stability and flexibility.

Walk heel to toe. Yup, just like the cops give drunk drivers. This test helps improve balance! Take 20 steps forward heel to toe, and then walk backward, toe to heel. Make sure you are walking in a straight line.

Squats. Having strong legs provides a foundation for everything, especially preventing those tumbles from turning into a nasty fall. Make sure you are doing squats in proper form, with the feet about hip width apart, keep your back straight, abs contracted, and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Aim for 3 sets of 10.

Get Ups. Practice makes perfect right? It takes muscle strength to get out of a chair, but it takes muscle force to do it quickly. Explosiveness helps to build power.

Try Ballet. People with ballet or gymnastic training tend to move with more precision and grace. Dancers use more muscle groups, even when just walking flat across a floor compared to people who have no experience in ballet or gymnastics. Dance training improves your nervous system’s ability to coordinate muscle groups to help keep your balance.