A growing number of seniors are prioritizing physical activity and nutritious eating as a means to prolonging their lives. Poor balance, however, is one of the greatest health risks people face yet is rarely given much concern.
Falling is a leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the United States, and millions of people each year are treated for injuries like broken hips and concussions that could have been prevented had they been more stable.
However, there are a number of things you may do to enhance your equilibrium.
When it comes to maintaining their health, many seniors prioritize physical activity and proper nutrition. However, improper balance, one of the most detrimental factors to health, is often overlooked. "I encounter a lot of older folks who are indifferent about balance," says Liz Moritz, a physical therapist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, which is connected with Harvard Medical School.
Falls, of which fractured hips and head injuries are common results, drive millions of individuals in the United States to emergency rooms every year. However, you may do a lot to enhance your equilibrium. Some of the more useful methods are detailed here.
Rehabilitation through Physical Methods
Balance can be improved through physical therapy by working on joint-to-brain communication, the ear's vestibular system, and eye-hand coordination. "One exercise that helps us work on our balance, equilibrium, and coordination is standing on one foot, both with and without our eyes open. Also, we practice limbering up by walking and doing exercises for the lower body using either one or both legs "says Moritz.
"Maintaining your equilibrium requires a strong core. If your core muscles are weak, you will experience difficulty supporting your limbs, especially when walking. It's impossible to move forward if your buttocks and hips don't have the strength to support your weight "as Moritz puts it.
To aid recovery, working out your muscles is a good idea. Pilates expert Moritz recommends building up to more challenging core exercises like wall planks from more moderate ones like the pelvic tilt (lay on the floor with your knees bent, then roll your pelvis up) (stand six inches from a wall, keeping your body rigid, then lean forward with your forearms flat against the wall, and hold the position for 20 seconds). To further target the gluteal muscles, try performing leg lifts while using resistance bands.
Exercise like tai chi and yoga
Moritz explains that stability can be enhanced through the practice of tai chi and yoga by focusing on the quality rather than the quantity of movement. Tai chi involves a series of slow, fluid movements that include shifting your weight from one limb to another.
Yoga entails a coordinated sequence of postures and breath work. Both are excellent ways to improve your agility, balance, reflexes, and strength in the legs and core. The end result is improved ability to maintain balance in a variety of situations, including those where the ground is not perfectly equal or where there are barriers in the way.
Straightening out your eyesight
"Your fall risk goes increased if you can't see where you're going," Moritz warns. "Many of the patients I see about their balance are here because they fell over because they couldn't see something on the floor." Perhaps all that's needed is a new pair of glasses.
If you're 65 or older, you should get a full eye exam every year or two; if you're 55 to 64, every year to three; and if you're 40 to 54, every two to four years. An increased frequency of eye examinations may be required if you have a higher than average risk of developing other eye diseases.
Equipment to aid in walking
If you're having trouble keeping your balance, a cane or walker can be a great asset. Avoid purchasing a gadget on your own. "Drops can occur if the surface is uneven. Measuring it and getting instruction on how to utilize it are also necessary steps "Moritz remarked.
Training just only a few of visits to the physical therapist. Wheels designed for various terrains, locking brakes, seats, baskets, and extras like lighting can all be found on walkers. Handles and stands for canes come in a wide range of styles and sizes.