Retirees and people approaching retirement can now put less focus on establishing a healthy work/life balance, and more focus on maintaining their physical balance. After all, balance is crucial to performing everyday activities from climbing the stairs to reaching for an item on a shelf at the supermarket. According to experts, along with cardio and some gentle strength training, exercises to build balance should be part of your workout list.
As we get older, the physical systems inside our bodies that help maintain our balance aren’t as responsive as they were when you were younger. In addition, health problems that are more common with age, such as inner ear disorders, decreased sensation in feet, or postural hypotension (low blood pressure while standing) may also affect your ability to balance.
Practicing exercises designed to improve your balance can help keep you upright and prevent a fall that causes injuries and could even necessitate a trip by ambulance to the hospital.
Static and Dynamic Balancing Exercises
Static balance exercise improves your balance when you’re standing still. An example of a static balance exercise is standing on one foot. But a good balance workout should also include dynamic exercises, which helps build balance when you walk or run.
Below are two simple exercises, both of which are light to moderate effort. The first is a static balance exercise and the other is a dynamic balance exercise.
Tandem standing (A Static Balancing Exercise)
Movement: Stand up straight and place your left foot directly in front of your right foot, heel to toe, and squeeze your inner thighs together. Hold for 5 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position, then repeat with your right foot in front. Repeat as many times as you like.
Tips and techniques:
- Lift your arms out to your sides at shoulder level to help you balance.
- Make it easier by holding on to the back of a chair.
- Make it harder by holding for more time or by closing your eyes.
Braiding (A Dynamic Balancing Exercise)
Movement: Stand up straight with your feet together and your weight evenly distributed on your feet. At a slow and controlled tempo, Step toward the right with your right foot. Cross in front with your left foot, step out again with the right foot, and cross behind with your left foot. Continue this for 10 steps to the right, then bring your feet together. Hold until steady. Now do 10 steps of braiding to the left side of the room. This completes one set.
Tips and techniques:
- Look ahead of you instead of down at your feet.
- Make it easier by taking smaller steps.
- Make it harder by picking up your pace while staying in control of the movement.
These two exercises and others like them can reduce the risk. Loss of balance is one of the main reasons for injuries, especially seniors. One of the most frequent reasons for trips to the emergency room for seniors is the result of falls. This trip can be physically painful and financially expensive – as much as $50,000 and they’re often not covered by insurance or Medicare. A Medical Air Services Association (MASA) membership can help. MASA covers the cost of emergency medical transport bills and protects your savings. MASA covers you from anywhere in the world, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. ASBA makes joining MASA easy. You can even sign up online. Learn More Here.