Fine After 50: Improving Your Physical Balance

Phil and I plan to discuss strength training and aerobic conditioning as well as stretching in future posts but before we jump into those meatier topics, I thought it might be nice to talk about balance. Per Consumer Affairs, one in ten people will experience difficulty with balance by the time they are 65 years old. There are a lot of reasons why we develop balance issues–and some of them can be indicative of serious physical problems. So, if you have significant problems with dizziness or balancing, it’s a good idea to check it out with your doctor.

If your balance issues are simply an indication of aging, though, there are some simple exercises that you can do to help improve your balance.

One is simply to stand on one foot next to a wall with your hand supporting yourself against the wall. Remove your hand from the wall and see if you can stand without wobbling for at least 30 seconds. Then switch and stand on the other foot. I do this both with and without shoes–the goal is to stand on one foot unsupported without wobbling for at least 30 seconds.

Eventually, you might want to consider graduating to a balance trainer. They look like one-half of a rubber ball stuck in a frame. (For example, check out the Bosu Sport 55 cm Balance Trainer. I am a complete physical dork but I love trying to balance on a balance trainer. Once again, stay close to a wall until you get the hang of it.

Another exercise to consider is a yoga pose called the tree pose (For a great description, click here). In the position, your hands are either in a prayer position in front of your chest or straight up above your head while you stand on one foot. Once again, you should aim to hold this position for at least 30 seconds without wobbling–and once again, if you have a problem, stay close to the wall.

Happy balancing!

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