The risk goes way up for falls and fractures the older a person gets. You may have seen a friend or family member go down, suffer a major break, and alter their lives forever.
Balance may have been something you took for granted in the past, but that changes with age. The older you get, the more you want to stay focused on improving balance to help you navigate the world and stay upright.
It’s easy to assume that a strong and fit body is all you need to limit the risk and effects of a fall. It’s true that muscle can help stop you from falling and protect your bones, but there is more to it.
A sharp and active brain plays a big role in keeping you on your feet too.
Staying mentally active and aware can help you plan movements, make decisions, improve reaction time, and boost awareness of your surroundings. Your brain processes all the information you’re getting – how your head is moving, what the ground feels like, and what you see – so you can move and act accordingly.
Keeping your mind fit, as well as your body, may give you the best chance to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls and bone breaks.
Tai chi is one activity that may help with balance. It involves choreographed movements that can help improve body awareness, how movements feel, and muscle recruitment patterns. Thinking about these movements while moving through them can help strengthen your brain
There are other things you can do to stay mentally fit. Talking to friends, engaging in hobbies, learning new things, and getting regular activity may all help keep you on your feet and improve balance and mobility while reducing the risk of a fall.