There are several factors that can contribute to poor balance and our risk of having more falls. These include:
While its not always possible to prevent our eyesight from deteriorating, or manage how even the ground is, it is possible to train our balance and make sure our bodies are strong and stable. Exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing falls within the community, with more and more balance and strength programs being introduced, especially for the elderly.
What exercises, and how much of them should I be doing?
The more exercise and training you do per week the better (within reason), but a minimum of 2 hours per week is a good baseline to help develop and maintain the lower limb strength and balance you will need.
In terms of the type of exercise you should be doing, a combination of strength building lower leg exercises and balance exercises is the ideal. Below is an example of some of the exercises in each category:
Things to Avoid:
Even though walking is often thought of as the easiest exercise that everyone should be doing, this isn’t really the case with people who have poor balance (especially people who have had a lot of falls while walking). If you find that you often lose your footing or balance while going for walks, its probably better to focus on strength and balance training first before deciding to do your usual walks again.
It can be very frustrating and sometimes scary when our balance isn't what it should be. The most important thing is not letting it stop you from trying to get better. Making even a small change in your routine to focus on your balance will certainly help you on your journey to feeling more stable and safe.
If you’re concerned about your balance and not really sure where to start, you may like to book in for a session with us. Each one of our practitioners is able to provide you with guidance on what could be contributing to your poor balance and what first step you should take to improve it.
Carly Rush - Exercise Physiologist