As you age, it’s normal to become less steady on your feet. In fact, each year one in four older adults will fall, often resulting in injury. Maintaining good balance as you age is not only the key to avoiding falls and subsequent injury, but also plays a crucial role in allowing you to continue partaking in all of the activities you love. So, how can you improve your balance as you age? Here are some simple tips for doing exactly that.
1. Keep moving
Balance is a skill that requires practice to maintain. If you engage in fewer activities that require balance, your ability to balance will naturally decrease. As such, it’s important to engage in some form of activity each day. Choose activities that you enjoy and that gently challenge you. To start out, you may just feel up to taking a walk around the block, but as you improve, try to expand your horizons and experiment with other forms of movement, such as dancing or playing pickleball. By using your arms and legs together and engaging in varied movements, you’ll gradually improve your balance, control, and coordination. As we like to say; “you have to #keepmoving2keepmoving”
2. Practice balancing on one foot
Standing on one foot is a simple balance exercise that you can do pretty much anywhere. To practice this exercise, simply lift one foot off the ground and hold that position for 20-30 seconds. Then, switch sides, lifting the other foot off the ground. If you need extra support, don’t hesitate to hold onto a chair or wall for support.
3. Engage in yoga
Yoga is a fantastic way to improve your balance in a safe and gentle way. Studies in older adults have shown that yoga helps strengthen balance, improve range of movement, increase flexibility in the legs and feet, and improve confidence in walking. You can take a yoga class in person or find a beginner yoga video to follow on YouTube.
4. Jump on a mini trampoline
Some studies show that jumping on a mini trampoline, also known as a rebounder, can increase a person’s balance and ability to perform daily activities. You can purchase a trampoline online, or look for a used one in your local listings. Choose one that comes with a stability bar that you can hold onto while bouncing your way to better balance.
5. Invest in supportive shoes
A common cause of falling is wearing poor footwear, such as high heels, flimsy sandals, or worn-out shoes. Having a good pair of sturdy, supportive shoes can go a long way in helping you maintain your balance as you move through the world. Look for shoes that are lightweight, have good traction, and provide arch support.
The bottom line
One of the biggest reasons for poor balance is that we tend to do less as we age. Our activity level, however, is something that’s within our control. Start where you feel comfortable, whether that’s standing on one foot while holding onto a chair or engaging in a fun game of pickleball. And remember, practice makes perfect, so apply the above tips consistently to reap the reward of improved balance.