Better Balance, Better Health
Strength, speed, endurance, flexibility—these are all common characteristics you might consider for someone who’s in shape. There’s one component to physical activity that is just as important as all of these: balance.
Balance is not something most people usually focus on during their workout. Not only do we all depend on our body’s ability to stay balanced every day, but improving other areas of your fitness depend on having good balance.
Everybody can benefit from good balance, not just those who do yoga or tai chi. Good balance better equips your body to stay on your feet. When you’re working out, good balance allows you to move better and reduces your risk of injury.
Balance is especially important as you get older. In fact, over 1 in 4 older adults fall each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Balance disorders are one of the most common reasons that people over 65 visit the doctor. These disorders can prevent you from doing basic tasks, like walking, cooking and getting dressed.
While you might not give it much thought, your body has a complex system to help you stay balanced, including your vision, the nerves inside your ear, your brain, your muscles and your skin. All these work together seamlessly to keep you upright. And, like a muscle, your balance can be exercised and strengthened.
Try these exercises to improve your balance:
- Pretend to walk across an invisible balance beam.
- Stand on one foot for as long as you can.
- Stand with your feet close together on a soft material like a pillow, mat, foam pad or disk.
For an extra challenge, try any of these exercises with your eyes closed. Another way to strengthen your balance is to take walks on a sandy beach or hiking trail. Not to mention, you get the added benefits of fresh air. If you’re looking to find other areas to improve your health, take the Blue Health Assessment. You’ll get a personalized action plan designed to help you improve your health.