Importance of Balance Training

Siel Bleu Ireland,

How Balance Training Is Important As We Age

By Margueritte O’Malley
What is balance training? Well, balance is like any other aspect of health and fitness, it needs attention and focus. A change in balance can have severe negative effect on our daily lives and everyday activities. Balance by definition is a state of equilibrium or equal distribution of weight being brought under control. There are several factors which contribute to altered balance – muscle loss, reduced flexibility in your joints, altered vision, structural changes to the inner ear resulting in altered hearing, changes to your reaction times and lastly different medications can impact your balance also.
Yes, balance changes as we age – it changes and often we are reluctant to adapt with it. As a child we learn to walk, as we get older we learn to balance better as we move like jumping, walking on walls, cycling a bike, doing handstands, cartwheels and tumbles. At some point as adults we stop learning new skills that challenge our balance, then life happens and at some point we notice balance is not quite what it used to be. As adults we like to do things a certain way so when are balance alters we still want to do things the same way we have always done them … cue the difficulty. Being aware of these changes is half the battle the other half is to be proactive!
However despite the varying causes of altered balance there is a lot you can do to maintain and improve your balance safely. Staying active with walking, Tai Chi or dancing are a great enjoyable way to keep your balance challenged. Below are a few specific exercises you can do at home to get you started.
Using a counter top or banisters ensure the floor space is clear to enable you to walk along unobstructed. Use the counter for as much help as you need whilst keeping the exercises challenging!
  • Toe raises, heel raises then rock from your toes to your heels as exaggerated as possible in each direct.
  • Calf raises – up on to your toes and hold for 10 sec repeat. If this is easy progress to single leg calf raises.
  • Tandem holds – right foot in front of the left foot heel and toe touching, using the counter as little as possible hold your balance for 30 sec. Repeat with left foot in front.
  • Walking along the counter/banisters shoulders back head up looking straight ahead walk heel to toe for 8 to 10 steps – slow and controlled is the key!!
  • Balance on 1 foot and try and hold it for 30 sec, repeat on the left foot
There are many variations to the above sample exercises, and lots you can do to improve and maintain good balance. If you are unsure, ask an exercise professional, or better yet pop into one of our classes!

 

Why not check out a Siel Bleu class near you: http://www.sielbleu.ie/home/programmes/community-2/

***Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical expertise or advice. If you have any concerns about your own or another’s health, then please contact your doctor.