Easy ways to boost strength and balance

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

As we get older many of us focus on exercise and diet to stay healthy. Our strength and balance are often an afterthought.

Unfortunately, poor balance is a common cause of falls and can lead to broken bones, hips and head injuries.

But there are things you can do to improve your strength and boost your balance. Here are some tips and strategies you can try to boost your balance and stay strong and healthy.

Exercises to boost strength and balance

Core strength is very important for balance. If the abdominal muscles in your core are weak, they can’t support your limbs, especially when you’re walking.

If the muscles in your buttocks and hips aren’t strong, they won’t be able to propel you forward.  Muscle strengthening can help.

You might want to start with these five simple exercises at home:

The Single Leg Balance

Tandem Walk

Sit to Stand

Side Leg Raise

Calf Raises

If you’re trying these exercises at home ensure you’re in a safe area clear of any trip hazards or objects that may cause harm. Perform balance exercises using a chair, bed, or wall for support.

Before starting any exercise talk to your GP or an exercise physiologist to make sure that its right for you.

Tai chi and yoga

Tai chi and yoga are exercises that make you pay attention to the control and quality of movement, rather than the quantity, which improves your balance.

In tai chi, you practice slow, flowing motions and shift your weight from one limb to another. Yoga incorporates a series of focused postures and breathing.

Both exercises increase flexibility, range of motion, leg and core strength, and reflexes.

The result: you become better at balancing in a number of different positions, which helps you avoid falling if you encounter uneven pavement or obstacles in your path.

Make sure to ask your GP or exercise physiologist about whether your health and wellbeing will allow you to try yoga and tai chi. If they say yes, why not give it a go.

Check your vision

If you can’t see where you’re going, your risk of falling goes up.

A lot of people have falls because they trip on something they didn’t on the floor. The fix may be as simple as a new eyeglasses prescription.

Vision loss is a complication of diabetes, so it pays to get your eyes checked regularly.

If you haven’t had them checked in the last 12 months, make an appointment with your optometrist.  Register for the Keepsight program to make sure you receive reminders for ongoing eye checks.

Ensuring your eyes are in good shape is an important part of good health and wellbeing.

Make time to boost your strength and balance

Balance and falls risk is an important aspect of your overall health and wellbeing. Taking a few minutes out of each day to complete balance exercises could be the difference between a potential fall or not.

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