Do you know if you are well-balanced?
Here’s a quick test to see if you have good muscular and skeletal balance or if you need to improve it.
Stand next to a high-back chair or counter (just in case). Lift one foot off of the floor and hold it up as long as possible. Try the test on both sides. Sometimes one side will be better than the other. If you can stand straight, not wobble and hold it for 60 seconds or more, you have great balance. If you have to touch the chair or hold on to it, if you have to keep putting your foot down to stabilize yourself, or if you are unable to lift your foot off the floor, you should probably think about doing some exercises to help strengthen your balance muscles.
Why is balance so important? First, the definition of balance is the ability to maintain the body’s position over the base of support (stance) whether the base is stationary or moving. The body’s ability to compensate as its center of gravity is altered is the measure of balance. The body uses coordination, muscle strength and response as it strives to remain in equilibrium while interacting with the environment.
If you don’t use it, you lose it. This is very true for balance as we get older. As we age and limit our activities, we no longer engage in many of the skills required for balance.
Think back to your childhood years. As children, we would run on the playground, spin, tumble, roll and swing. We would walk on our hands, race backward, hop and skip. As adults, we move calmly in one direction, being cautious not to collide with someone or something. We have been taught to be “polite” and “act” like adults, therefore we tend to stop taking part in activities that don’t meet those “requirements”.
Being able to adapt to sudden changes in terrain, lighting, noise, sight and other environmental disturbances are all part of a well-balanced system. It is extremely important to incorporate activity and exercise that will help improve balance and the many systems and subsystems of the human body involved.
A few things influenced by these balance systems include:
– Postural orientation
– Body alignment
– Motor coordination
For proper and appropriate exercises to make the most of your balance training, it is best to seek the help of someone who is qualified and understands how to safely take you through a program designed to:
– Increase muscle strength
– Improve posture
– Improve mobility
– Improve flexibility and range of motion
– Increase muscle endurance
– Improve walking skills
– Increase knowledge of fall prevention
– Decrease anxiety about falling
– Increase self-confidence
– Develop a commitment to lifelong exercise
– Provide a safe environment for exercise and practicing balance skills
Don’t ignore the fact that having good balance is very important, especially as we age. To start becoming better balanced, contact a certified personal trainer or fitness expert with specialized training in building a successful balance program for you.
If you live in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, including Chandler, Sun Lakes, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale, AZ, you can call Julia Johnson with Life in Motion Fitness for a FREE consultation. She is certified in Balance Training for Older Adults and can help you get started today so you can be confident and independent for a long time to come.