How to Improve Your Balance

 By Gary Picariello

It’s inevitable that the older we get, the tougher it is to stay in shape! If we don’t keep our muscles challenged with the shock of working out, they’ll atrophy. Same thing goes for the muscles we use to stand. Inactivity will make them weak. Let the legs go and guess what happens? The length of our stride shortens, the pace of our steps slows and our hamstrings get flabby. It’s all relative and the next thing you know, we’re wobbling around like we're 90.

Carry the Weight

According to the website prevention.com, no one gives much thought to balance until they have a problem, usually becoming apparent through a fall of some sort. You may not realize it, but those with good balance tend to have a strong core and muscle system, which helps posture and performance, and lessens the likelihhood of back pain. If you're like everyone else, you don't give balance two seconds of consideration, merrily taking it for granted like the rest of the world. You never worrry about it until you lose it.

However, it's never too early to rethink your approach to workouts and make balance a healthy part of that focus. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.

There are some simple things you can do to get a feel for how much balance you have, and increase your balance so that you can enjoy the effects of it. Having good balance will be important later in life, too, because falls by the elderly can tend to be life-altering.

Balance 101

The National Institute of Aging defines balance as the "even distribution of weight ... a harmony of design and proportion ... controlled by the body tracing sensory information from nerves and muscles."

Over time, the body’s sensory information diminishes, so no matter your age, you should work to improve your balance to maintain coordination and help keep a healthy posture.

For Starters

Achieving the most perfect state of fitness that you can helps preserve your balance. The website prevention.com shares some specific tips that can be added to your workout regimen that will enhance your balance:

  • Stand with both feet together and eyes closed. Don't be surprised if your body sways -- it's your body's way to correct your balance. It happens often when your feet are close together. Just standing with your eyes shut helps improve balance. Do this whenever you can.
  • Balance on a leg at a time, but bend your knee slighly if youi think you're going to fall. 
  •  Close your eyes but focus on something stationary in front of you. Use one foot, then the next. Your better balance will be on your dominant side.
  • While doing bicep curls and shoulder rises, keep your toes on the floor. Eventually, get to the point in which you lift a foot off the ground. Play around with the position of your lifted leg. Alternate legs to maintain strength and keep muscle tone balance.

Balance training and practice should be a primary thought when approaching your workouts. It doesn't add any length to your exercise time. But you do need to pay attention to your body and use these techniques in an effort to improve your balance and your core strength. As balance and core strength improve, you're likely to find that you will also improve your agility and coordination.

If you would like to get your nervous system working optimally so that your body provides its best feedback and your input has the greatest influence, drop in on one of the doctors at  The Joint Chiropractic. The Joint doesn't have an appointment policy and there's no hassle with insurance. A consultation and adjustment could improve your posture and help bring balance into your life. 

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