If you want to gain confidence while enhancing your mobility, then engaging in balance exercises may be just the activity for you! Studies have shown that older adults who engage in these types of exercises for at least six weeks can improve balance control and gain more self-assurance.
In this article we’ll discuss why balance is so important—especially for older adults—and share a few simple balance exercises that can help you improve it.
The Importance of Balance for Older Adults
There are many factors that go into maintaining or enhancing one’s well-being. This includes diet, exercise, sleep and even social interaction. One often overlooked aspect of our overall health is our ability to balance.
In fact, balance affects every aspect of how we move, from standing and sitting to walking and running. By taking steps to improve your balance, you also decrease your risk of injury or death if you do fall. Approximately 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year, with as many as 32,000 of them resulting in death. One in five falls can also cause serious injury, such as broken bones and trauma.
Beyond decreasing the likelihood of a fall, some of the benefits of maintaining or improving your balance are building strength, increasing confidence and maintaining your independence for a longer period of time.
1. Increase Strength
Studies show that engaging in strength training exercises such as walking, yoga or riding a bike, can not only improve your balance, but can also preserve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
2. Gain More Confidence
Stronger bones and muscles and improved balance can give older adults more confidence in their everyday lives. This confidence can lead to a sense of empowerment, encouraging engagement in more frequent outings or activities.
3. Enhanced Quality of Life
Better balance enhances one’s overall quality of life, leading to a greater ease in performing everyday activities like going up and down stairs or performing regular chores. This can also help older adults live independently for a longer period of time.
Tips to Improve Your Balance
Small changes to your everyday routine can deliver improved benefits to your balance and overall health. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Set Yourself Up for Success
First, be sure to set yourself up for success when you begin your new routine. Make sure you have comfortable shoes with good traction, and look for slip hazards in your home such as area rugs that you can secure. As your mobility changes, supportive devices like a cane, walker or scooter can also provide the extra help you need to enjoy your life.
Exercise Your Body
Look for ways to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine, such as taking yoga in the morning or a walk in the afternoon. Dance, tai chi, or golf are also enjoyable ways to get regular movement into your routine. Research from Harvard Medical School shows that regular exercise may reduce the rate of falls by 23%. It doesn’t need to be a breathless workout, either. Simple, sustained movement each day can help you achieve positive results.
Exercise Your Brain
While you may not realize it, brain health is also key to helping us maintain and improve our balance. Increasing your mental acuity can help you stay focused and better understand the environment, as well as how to calculate fall risks. Consider doing day word puzzles, limiting alcohol use and taking up a new hobby or activity that interests you.
Speak to Your Doctor
There are also some balance issues that may be caused by issues related to vision or hearing. If you find that you are experiencing symptoms like vertigo or disorientation, speak to your doctor to determine the cause. There are also certain medications that can cause side-effects related to your balance. Always keep your doctor informed.
Health and Wellness at Claridge Court
At Claridge Court, the health and wellness of our residents always comes first. Our skilled team will work with you to craft a custom wellness plan with your personal goals in mind. From fitness classes, made-to-order healthy meals, social clubs and events, you will have many opportunities to enhance your daily routine with healthy habits. To discover more, contact us to schedule a tour or simply learn more about the lifestyle our residents enjoy here.