by Susan Manning
Practice makes perfect: we have all heard it before and it still stands true today. Balance is something that we tend to find more difficult as we age which can lead to the fear of falling. This fear tends to put our bodies in a forward lean due to the fear of falling backwards, and gives us more of a shuffle in our walks as a result of shorter steps.
With simple balancing exercises that can be done almost anywhere, you will notice a big change in the way you move. You will move with more confidence and a more neutral posture.
Balancing Exercise Tips
- Make sure that there is always something close by to hang onto in case you do lose your balance – a chair or a counter for example.
- Always stand in a neutral position with your core engaged.
- Start with standing on one leg holding onto a chair.
- Be sure to keep your hips level and think about the muscles working to balance you.
- Try to just hold the chair with one finger and then eventually let go.
- Time yourself and try to increase the amount of time you are able to hold, working your way up to one minute.
- Repeat on the other leg.
Advanced Balance Exercise
- Walk heel to toe in a straight line. Imagine you are walking a tight rope.
- If you do this down a hallway, the walls are close enough to use for balance if needed.
Over time, your balance will improve and you will be ready for even more advanced balancing exercises. Your confidence in walking will improve and your fear of falling diminish. This will help improve your walking gait and posture.
About the Author: Susan Manning is a BCRPA TFL, ACE, ACSM, TWIST certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist in BC. She is Dr. Carolyn Anderson’s co-author of It’s Never Too Late To Be Fit, a comprehensive guide for seniors’ fitness.