Today I Learned...
low and steady wins the race.
How many times have you heard that as a kid? It's one of those things that seems to be true in every situation, but it's especially true when it comes to improving your balance.
Balance is a skill that we all use every day. It's what allows us to walk across a busy street or not fall over while carrying groceries. But balance gets harder as we age, and it's one of the leading causes of injuries among older adults. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling.
Here are some exercises and stretches to try:
Gentle balance exercises.
Gentle balance exercises can help improve your ability to maintain your balance while performing everyday tasks like standing up from sitting or walking downstairs.
The following are examples of gentle balance exercises that can help improve your balance:
- Start small. If you're new to balance exercises, start small and work your way up. Your goal should be to do at least five minutes of gentle activity every day.
- Focus on your posture. Good posture helps to keep your body balanced and stable, so make sure you're standing tall with your shoulders back and stomach muscles tight.
- Practice walking in different environments—in a hallway or on a treadmill are great options! This will help you practice moving in different ways without having to worry about getting hurt or falling over something in the process (like a chair or table).
Standing heel raise.
The standing heel raise is a simple exercise to improve balance and reduce injury risk. You'll need a step or chair, and it's best to do this exercise barefoot.
Here's how to do it:
- Stand on one foot with the other knee bent, holding on to a chair or wall for balance.
- Slowly lift up your heel as high as you can without losing your balance.
- Hold for 10 seconds at the top, then lower slowly to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times on each foot for 2-3 sets total per day (with breaks in between).
If you're looking to improve your balance and reduce the risk of injury, consider walking slowly. It's as simple as it sounds. You can do this in a gym, on a treadmill, or even outside.
Walking slowly is known to reduce the risk of falling and injury because it forces you to concentrate on maintaining your balance. This makes it easier to keep your body upright and centered over your feet.
In addition, when you walk slowly, you're more likely to engage in other activities like standing up straight or holding your arms at your sides—which are both known to improve balance.
Here's how to do it:
- Walk slowly across the room, making sure your feet stay close to the ground at all times.
- Once you've mastered this exercise, try walking backwards instead of forwards.
Try Yoga or Tai Chi.
These mind-body practices can help you improve your balance and reduce injury risk by helping you focus on the present moment and on deep breathing.
Tai Chi is a martial art that has incredible benefits for seniors because it helps improve coordination, strength, and flexibility. It's also great for lowering blood pressure and stress levels! If you're looking for something physical that will help boost your mood and make you feel better physically and mentally, this is an excellent choice!
Try some of our Tai Chi classes to improve your balance:
Yoga is another great option if you want to focus on improving your balance while also getting healthy physically and mentally. Yoga helps increase flexibility and strength while also lowering blood pressure and reducing stress levels—all things that are especially helpful as we age!
Improve your balance and strength with our Yoga classes:
While it's true that the risk of falls increases with age, it's also true that balance can be improved with the right approach.
When in doubt, consult your doctor. But once you have the go-ahead, these exercises can help keep your balance—and health—in check as you get older.