Prevent a Fall: 2 Easy Activities to Improve Your Stability

by | Apr 26, 2017 | Balance and Flexibility, Be Active, Building Healthy Habits | 0 comments

How much do you think about stability, coordination, and agility fitness?

 

Notably, most people don’t think about stability (or balance) until they fall, or injure themselves. Significantly, balance training is important for everyone, at every age, from athletes to casual exercisers.

A point often overlooked, when we keep our bodies flexible, we prevent common injuries (tripping, back aches, strains and sprains). Correspondingly, when we move in different ways, we move in ways our bodies are naturally designed to move.

In the United States, one in three adults, aged 65 and older, falls each year. Falls can lead to a downward health spiral. Broken bones or other injuries result in fear of falling, reduce your confidence, and undermine independence. But falls are not an inevitable part of getting older. In fact, most falls can be prevented.

After a fall, we may limit activities for the sake of “safety.” Consequently, we may take shorter steps, or watch our feet as an perceived safety response. On the whole, these will actually add instability.

Along with regular aerobic exercise and strength (resistance) training, balance exercises are important as we get older. Balance exercises improve your stability, and reduce/prevent falls.

 

What are Balance and Coordination?

Balance is the result of being stable as you move your body. For example, reaching to take things from an overhead cabinet, or walking up and down stairs,

Coordination combines movement and stability to keep you balanced as you move.

 

Why Are Balance and Coordination Important?

Stability is about more than being careful. All things considered, stability includes balance and coordination skills, which are important in our daily activities to prevent physical injury.

Balance is the control of our arms and legs, as well as our torso and head. In general, we need our entire body to be balanced and stable. To explain, balance is crucial for bending, sitting, and standing.

Coordination contributes to smooth, controlled body movements. In essence, coordination combines direction, speed, and tension in your body’s muscles.

 

Improving Balance and Coordination

Proprioception (prō′prē-ō-sĕp′shən) is your body’s ability to sense where a body part is without having to look. As examples, proprioception is how you know to scratch your head without looking in the mirror, or walk up or down a flight of stairs without looking at each stair. Altogether your body’s proprioceptors control agility, balance, and coordination.

Training and practice improve your balance and coordination, and ultimately reduce the risk of future injuries. In fact, balance and coordination skills help with everyday tasks. As examples, coordination skills include eye-hand coordination and bilateral coordination (that’s both sides of your body). With this in mind, start with the following simple exercises, and experience immediate improvements.

 

2 Effective Balance & Coordination Exercises

There are a ton of tools for practicing balance. However, the most important piece of equipment you need to improve is something you already have: the floor. Indeed, any floor surface will work; just make sure you have plenty of room so you can move around freely.

Simple One-Leg Balancing

  1. To begin, lift one knee up until your leg is bent at a 45 – 90-degree angle. Then hold it there for as long as possible. Specifically, don’t let your legs touch each other.
  2. At first, hold on to the back of a chair while you lift your leg.
  3. Then, remove your hand from the chair to test your balance.

Begin with 15 seconds and progress to a minute on each side.

Heel-To-Toe Walk

  1. Start to walk, placing (touching) the heel of one foot directly in front of the toe of the back one.
  2. Walk heel-to-toe along a line marked on the floor. 

 As you get better, try walking on your tip-toes, then backwards.

 

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My name is Jacqueline Gikow. I’m an experienced personal trainer who understands bodies, and how to support people who may not like working out. Specifically, I make it easy for you change from a reluctant to willing exerciser. As a matter of fact, you can do this without joining a gym (unless you want to).

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