You may think it’s inevitable that, as you age, you’ll lose your sense of balance and increase your risk of falling. And there’s good reason to be concerned about taking a tumble. Each year, one in three adults over age 65 are more at risk to falls, so it’s important to improve balance as you age.
Balance is important at all stages of life but becomes especially critical as you age. Falls often result in serious injuries, such as head injuries, hip fractures and other broken bones. Health problems associated with hip fractures alone cause more deaths each year in women than breast cancer.
The good news is that you can maintain your balance by staying active and performing exercises. These exercises can help strengthen your core and improve your stability, mobility and coordination.
Easy Exercises to Improve Balance
Good balance makes it less likely you’ll fall. Here are easy ways to improve your stability:
Stand on one leg. You can perform this exercise almost anywhere and at any time. Simply stand on one leg and try to balance for 30 seconds or more. You can begin by placing your hands out to the side to help you balance, but eventually, you’ll want to try to stay steady without arms outstretched.
Take Action, Prevent Falls
Exercise is great for strengthening the body to prevent fall. Along with exercise, use our in-home fall prevention checklist (PDF) to help prevent falls at any age.
To make this exercise more challenging, close your eyes or stand on a less stable surface, such as a pillow or couch cushion.
Walk heel to toe. Put one foot in front of the other as you walk in a straight line, lining up the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes on the other foot. Take about 20 steps forward and then 20 steps back.
Learn tai chi. The flowing movements of tai chi have been shown to improve balance and stability. A study published in 2015 showed that older adults who practiced Tai Chi Chuan for several weeks did better on a series of balance tests at the end of the study than they did at the start. They also performed better than people who spent the same amount of time ballroom dancing.
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