Exercise and diet are key to a long and healthy life. These two components contribute to a healthy heart and mind, yet they don’t necessarily cover all the bases. In fact, they may even leave you exposed to a dangerous fall.
You might think that if you go out for a walk every day, you’ve got strong legs, and therefore, great balance. But an active lifestyle does not necessarily focus on balance or do much to improve it. And for people 65 and over, good balance is an essential component of injury prevention and overall health.
One in three people 65 and older will suffer a fall. In some cases, it may lead to an injured or broken limb that can cause pain or reduce life quality, while other times, it can lead to hip or brain injuries with serious consequences. The good news is that there are things you can do to help improve balance and reduce the risk of a potentially consequential fall.
Building Stronger Core Muscles: Walking is great for your body, but it doesn’t necessarily promote strength. Resistance exercises do. A strong core is essential for firm balance, which means performing exercises to target the abs, butt, and legs can be a big help in fall prevention. One exercise you can try at home is a pelvic tilt. You can perform it by lying on the floor with your knees bent upward, then simply rolling your pelvis up to follow. Squeeze the muscles in your hips, butt, and abs to keep legs elevated, hold for two seconds, then return to the starting position.
Yoga and Tai Chi: Both of these exercise modalities encourage improved mind/body connection and focus on controlled quality movements. Each promotes balance and range of motion in a different way, which can help you build a closer relationship with your body that can result in better balance.
Being Aware of Your Surroundings: If it’s slippery or rainy outside, don’t go out for your daily walk or run. Risky conditions can create danger in familiar terrain. Further, make sure to get your eyes checked every year or two. Ensuring your vision is as good as possible can limit the likelihood of collisions and bumps that may send you off balance.