Fun Facts: Did you know that your balance starts to weaken in your 20’s and that it only goes down hill from there? Or that 1 in 4 folks over the age of 55 are heading to the emergency room each year as the result of a fall?
Wow. We’re off to a great start right? I’m sure you already feeling perked up by these bits of uplifting information.
In all serious, balance is one of the most overlooked methods for maintaining your vibrancy well into your older years. Behind this not-so-simple act of balance, multiple complex systems of our body must communicate and work together. Your sensory nervous system must be firing on all cylinders, relying on information from your sight, hearing and touch. The central nervous system is still in command and our balance becomes incredibly reliant on how well it is functioning at any given time. We also need muscular strength, mobility and stamina to maintain our posture. The ability to hold ourselves upright and strong is a key factor in our balance.
Want to try something fun? Let’s test your balance to see where you’re at! It’s fairly simple. Stand straight, wearing flat, closed-toe shoes, and fold your arms across your chest. With your eyes closed, raise and bend one leg and hold for 45 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
If you held on for 24 to 28 seconds, you’re in the 20-49 year old range. If you held on for 11 to 21 seconds, you’re in the 50- to 59-year-old range. And if you held on for less than 10 seconds, you’re clocking in around 65 years of age.
If you’re looking to bolster your anti-aging defenses or possibly your balance score - we must control what we can: our strength, stamina and posture!
Here’s just a few tips on how to do that, but I would definitely recommend doing some more research and finding new and innovative activities to try in your own community! Walking groups, Silver Sneakers, water aerobics, Yoga or Tai Chi would all be great to improve balance.
- Incorporate standing on one leg into your daily life. While you’re folding laundry, cooking at the stove or watching tv.
- Try walking heel to toe. Take 20 steps forward, heel to toe. Then walk backward, with toe to heel, in a straight line.
- I especially like this tip: try leaping out of a chair so forcefully that you need to take a few running steps after you do so. It’s the explosiveness of the push that builds power.
- Give weight shifts a go. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, lean slowly toward one leg until it’s bearing all your weight while lifting your other leg off the ground. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then move to the other side.
My dad, Dr Barry, was a firm believer in balance work. I have many a memory of waking up in the morning for school and coming into the living room to find him holding a perfect headstand. I, on the other hand, have apparently been slacking. Truth be told I was pretty appalled by my own balance score *cough cough, 50-59. Looks like I’ve got work to do!
That’s it for now. I hope you’ve found this information valuable. If you have questions or insight don’t hesitate to reach out, always love hearing from you!
Chelsea, Co-Founder of Dr Barry’s Remedies