Stay Grounded with Better Balance
Remember walking across a balance beam, skating, or climbing a ladder or step stool with ease? Balance is something we tend to take for granted when we’re young, and it’s one of the first things to go as we get older. Changes in stability and coordination are inevitable as you age and failing to do what you can to maintain balance can lead to falls and injury. Thankfully, there are simple balance exercises you can work into your daily routine to help strengthen your stability and boost your confidence. In fact, Curves has a whole Health and Wellness program dedicated to improving balance and coordination, so you can stay grounded and injury-free.
Why Balance Weakens as you Age
There are several reasons we lose balance as we gain in years. For one, your muscle mass deteriorates as you age, which leads to core muscles that are weaker and less able to hold you steady. Your bones lose calcium and other minerals, which makes them less sturdy. Foot arches tend to fall, which can make you wobblier on your feet. And chronic age-related conditions, such as vision changes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease can also affect your stamina and therefore, your stability. To make matters worse, you may not be aware of declining balance and coordination because their deterioration is slow and gradual. 1
In some cases, balance problems can result from more serious health conditions, such as head injury, inner ear problems, migraines, and neurological problems. If unsteadiness persists or becomes debilitating, see your health care provider. 2
Fears of Falls
When balance becomes compromised, it makes you more likely to fall and get injured. Falling is one of the most common and serious medical issues affecting older people. Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional deaths, and adults over age 60 are at the greatest risk for injuries from a fall. The good news is, there are exercises to improve balance. By performing core stability exercises and other balance exercises, you will improve your balance and prevent falls. As a bonus, exercises to improve balance can also lead to better mobility and cardiovascular endurance, two other things that tend to go down hill as you age. 3
Good Balance Exercises
Now that you understand the importance of good balance, here’s what you can do to strengthen and preserve it. Balance maintenance is easy with simple balance exercises you can do every day at home. You can also do stability exercises as part of the Curves Circuit or MyCurves On Demand. Here are a few of the most effective balance exercises for seniors:
- Try Curves’ Monthly Challenge move, Single Leg Balance. Stand on one foot. Starting with your non-dominant foot first (if you are right-handed, this is your left foot). See how long you can hold this move and record your progress over 30 days.
- Back leg raises. Stand behind a chair for stability and raise one leg back behind you at a time. Keep your leg straight as you raise it. This exercise helps strengthen your legs.
- Walk heel-to-toe. Yup, this sobriety test will help keep your balance sharp. Take 20 steps forward, heel-to-toe, then turn around and walk heel-to-toe in the opposite direction for 20 steps. 4
- Squat for stability. Strong legs are a key part of good balance. To build your quads, do squats. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees and slowly lower yourself as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you. Hold your arms straight out, keep your abs tight and your back straight, and make sure your knees don’t go farther forward than your shoelaces. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor (or you’ve gone as low as you can), then squeeze your glute muscles and stand back up. Do three sets of 10 reps.5
Improve Balance with Curves
Good balance not only prevents falls, it helps keep you mobile and independent as you age. The Curves full body workout strengthens your whole body—balance included—in just 30 minutes. With the importance of balance exercises in mind, Curves has also created a Health & Wellness class, called Better Balance & Posture. A class you can do in-club or in the comfort of your own home, Better Balance & Posture includes a different focus each week with prescribed exercises that can be incorporated into your health and wellness routine.
One of the most effective ways to stay young and healthy is by staying balanced and nimble. Balance is like a muscle; you need to engage in balance workouts to keep it strong. With effective exercises to improve balance, let the workouts and classes at Curves be your guide.
For more information about Curves, visit https://www.curves.com/about/why-curves.