STAY BALANCED

STAY BALANCED

Maintaining good balance is essential for even the simplest of movements such as walking, climbing stairs, turning to look behind you or rising from a chair. Playing sports of any kind also requires good balance.
Many factors can affect your balance, including things such as respiratory tract or ear infections; arthritis; poor vision; side effects of some medications. Often, poor balance is simply due to the gradual changes in the balance system due to ageing.
There are several things you can do to ensure that your balance remains in good shape:
• Walking, biking, and climbing stairs will strengthen muscles in your lower body. A recumbent bike or stair stepper at gym might be a safer way to start if your balance needs a lot of work.
• Stretching will loosen tight muscles, which can affect posture and balance.
• Yoga poses strengthen and stretch tight muscles and improve your ability to remain balanced when both still and moving.
• Tai chi moves, which involve gradual shifts of weight from one foot to another combined with rotating the trunk and extending the limbs, may also help to improve your balance.
• Pilates can help to strengthen core muscles
Other benefits can be had from improving your balance: for example, it protects you from falls during everyday life activities. This can prevent fractures and their complications especially in older people. Some chronic conditions such as mild stroke or Parkinson’s may also benefit from improved balance. Even less active people can do some mild forms of exercise to help improve balance. For more individual advice, see a physiotherapist, especially if you have an underlying medical condition which is affecting your balance.
(Advice courtesy of Harvard Medical School)