Today, we’re talking about one big piece of well-being - balance!
Balance is everything. After all, a house built on a shaky foundation is a shaky house. And, the same goes for our bodies. While I often talk about balance in terms of our well-being, today, I’m talking about our actual balance.
When our balance is shaky, we tend to fall more, have more injuries, walk slower, fear falling and move less. When we move less, our muscles begin to weaken which makes us more unsteady which makes us more prone to sit and the loop continues. And, what happens when we sit more? We tend to gain weight and our risk of disease increases. Loss of balance quickly becomes a slippery slope especially as we get older.
If you’re young and feeling invincible, don’t get ahead of yourself. Often times, we have some muscle imbalances that reveal themselves in balance exercises.
So, what can we do? Never fear. You can always work on and increase your balance. It is never too late.
Take time to test your balance. Simply stand up and do it. If you have heels on , I’d lose them for this test.
Before you do this, engage your core and pick a spot on the wall in front of you to focus on while you balance. If you already know that you’re unsteady, be sure to hold on to something, stand against a wall or stand in front of a counter so you have something to grab. Also, don’t worry if you sway a bit. This is normal.
First, try standing on 1 foot for 15 seconds. Repeat on your opposite foot.
Now try standing with both feet on the ground but close your eyes this time. How many seconds can you stay here?
If that was a breeze, try standing on one foot with your eyes closed for 15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Now, try the above and press your big toe down while you’re doing it. Do you notice a difference? This simple action helps to engage our muscles.
How did you do? Was one side tougher than the other? Typically, one side is a bit different than the other. And, odds are that the challenges got tougher as you went along. If you achieved all of them, give yourself a hand. If you didn’t, don’t worry. Simply try to work on it each day.
You can work on this by running through the exercises about each day or by practicing having one foot in front of the other and turning your head from side to side. You also work to increase your strength by doing squats or chair squats to increase your lower body strength overall.
Consistency is key. The more you do it, the better you’ll be.
One other important thing to consider when talking about balance is to pick things up! Falls can happen at any age. And, tripping over stuff is a big factor. So pick things up, put them away and watch for rugs that are lifting up. Even a random lego on the floor is enough to throw someone off their game. Those things are painful under a bare foot!
If you have an older person in your life that you know needs to work on balance, maybe try doing balance exercises the next time you go for a visit or do them over facetime together.
Wishing you luck in finding balance in your life!