When people consider how to improve their physical fitness, they frequently ignore the issue of balance. That is a crucial omission. According to research, good balance is an essential aspect of being physically fit and living a long life. It is a critical issue for everyone, regardless of age.
Poor balance primarily affects older persons. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the biggest cause of injury and death for individuals 65 and older, with nearly 30% of this age group reporting at least one fall in 2018. Younger adults, on the other hand, regularly make mistakes.
During a 16-week trial, 48% of young adults reported falling at least once. The tumbles most typically occurred while walking or participating in sports activities, with female study participants reporting more falls and fall-related injuries than males.
In another study published in the journal BMC Public Health, 18% of young adults (ages 20 to 45) reported having fallen within the preceding two years. This figure compares to 21% of middle-aged persons (46 to 65) and 35% of those over 65 reporting falls.
While falls among young individuals were frequently associated with sports involvement, mishaps among the middle-aged group were typically associated with health difficulties and physiological abnormalities.
Aside from aging, medication, visual problems, neuropathy of the feet, brain injuries, obesity, and a general lack of physical fitness can all have an impact on your balance. Even if you have no risk factors, merely failing to work on your balance on a regular basis will result in increasing instability.
“Our bodies are conditioned to lose what we don’t utilize and exercise on a regular basis, and balance is no exception,” said Susan Baxter, a physiotherapist in Melbourne, Australia, via email.
The most crucial thing is to constantly push your balance. “When you have good balance, you move around with less fear and more flexibility,” Landau said, adding that the fear of falling stiffens and stresses you out, making you more likely to fall.
Do you believe you don’t have the time to work on your balance? There are simple methods to include in your regular routine. While brushing your teeth, watching television, or waiting in line at the grocery store, stand on one leg. Or, as Baxter suggested, stroll around barefoot on occasion.
“Mechanoreceptors in our feet convey messages to our brain letting us know that our feet are working and where they are in space,” she explained. “Once you’ve mastered the ability to balance without footwear, tackle that task on a yoga mat or thin pillow.”
Don’t give up if you find these exercises difficult. With a little practice, balance improves fast. Exercise is beneficial at any age, whether you are a youngster or in your 90s.
“Good balance enhances general mobility, so you’ll move more and your muscles and bones will strengthen,” Landau explained. “It promotes longevity and overall health, and it makes life worthwhile.”