I gave a lecture this morning to a group of seniors-the topic was balance. I see way too many clients after they have a fall. I implored this group to take measures to prevent a fall. Several factors influence balance. Ear problems, medication, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. I focus on what I can control; strength and improving my proprioception skills.
Strength and flexibility in the hips, legs, and ankles go a long way toward improving balance. Improving proprioception (the ability to sense the position, location, orientation, and movement of the body and it’s parts, relative to the ground). Remember, Mr. Gravity is always at work, and is relentless. Here a few simple exercises to help with proprioception.
1) Tennis ball toss with a partner. Stand on one leg, 10 feet away and facing your partner (or a wall). Toss a tennis ball back and forth, switching hands and legs. This is challenging and can actually be fun.
2) Take a piece of rope 24 inches long. Step over it with both feet sideways, froward, and reverse, moving your feet as quickly as possible. You can incorporate turns with the legs, and with the head.
3) Hopscotch. The children’s game is a fantastic way toi improve balance. I took some fabric and cut out 12 six-inch by six-inch squares. Although I don’t have people actually jump, just following the pattern, turning, and bending/reaching can present a challenge.
Please don’t wait until you fall to work on your balance. Sometimes you don’t get a second chance to…………..
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.