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Balance for Seniors

Balance training is an important but often-neglected skill, one that impacts both our longevity and our quality of life, beginning around age 40. One study found that 20 percent of the 1,700 older adults tested couldn’t balance on one leg for 10 seconds or more, and that inability to balance was associated with a twofold risk of death from any cause within 10 years.

 

Researchers have previously connected balance and strength with mortality, finding that the ability to rise from the floor to a standing position, balance on one leg for 30 seconds with one eye closed and even walk at a brisk pace are all tied to longevity.

 

One study showed the inability to stand 10 seconds on one leg was a powerfully predictive of mortality. In the study, one in five people could not manage it.

Balance problems can be caused by a variety of factors, many of them age-related. With age, strength and balance tend to decrease and that can result in frailty.
 

These exercises keep your body active, improve balance and coordination, and prevent falls and injuries:

 

TIGHTROPE WALK

  • Tie a piece of string on the ground.

  • .Hold your arms out wide to the sides.

  • Walk on the string without stepping off 

  • Walk at least 15 steps. 

 

ROCK THE BOAT:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  • Press your weight into both feet firmly and evenly.

  • Yield your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot.

  • Hold for up to 30 seconds.

  • Slowly lower your left foot to the floor and repeat on the other side.

  • Do each side five to 10 times.

 

FLAMINGO STAND:

  • Stand on your left leg with your right leg lifted.

  • Use a chair or wall for support as you stretch your right leg forward.

  • Maintain good posture by keeping your spine, neck, and head in one line.

  • To increase the difficulty, extend your hand to reach for your right foot.

  • Hold for up to 15 seconds.

  • Then do the opposite side. 
     

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