20 Oct Balance: Use it or lose it
As children it was normal to walk on a balance beam at the park, to hop on one foot or to jump on a bed. This is essential for the cerebellum to develop sharp balance skills. Generally, as we grow older we no longer do these activities and this part of our brain becomes lazy.
We hear about broken hips and falls. But which comes first? Usually the person falls and then the hip breaks, not the other way around. Here are some very simple balance drills to test and improve your ability to stay on your feet.
Standing On One Foot
- Stand on one foot. You may choose to do this behind a sturdy chair holding for balance, if necessary.
- Hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat 10 times
- Repeat 10 times with opposite leg
Walking Heel to Toe
- Position heel of one foot in front of toes of other foot. Your heel and toes should be touching or almost touching
- Focus on a spot in front of you to keep you steady as you walk
- Step forward. Place your heel just in front of your other foot.
- Repeat this for 20 steps
Go off the beaten track
Take your walks on natural surfaces rather than sidewalks or paved paths. Walking on the beach or a trail in nature, with its tree roots and rocks, will naturally improve your sense of balance.
These plastic spheres are is fun way to strengthen important parts of your body to prevent falls, and they also improve your overall balance.
Sit on the ball with your feet on the floor. If you have low stability, you can have your ball and back close to a wall. Initially, you can try to lift one foot off the floor at a time until your balance improves. Next, try lifting both feet at the same time. Repeat five times with each knee or 10 times if you lift both at the same time. You can also have fun by seeing how long you can stay balanced with both feet off the floor. Try moving your arms around. With caution, try closing your eyes.
With all these exercises, listen to your limits and begin slowly. If the brain feels threatened, it will shut down. A little practice each day goes a long way. Neuroplasticity is a term that explains that we can change our neurology with repetition over time.
Why does this chiropractor care about your balance? Simply because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure, and that, along with wellness, is what chiropractic is all about! Contact Dr. Judith to learn more about a complementary consultation.