Healthy Living Neuroscience

A fine balance: Stay steady on your feet with this easy exercise

Think good balance isn’t important? Try performing everyday activities, such as walking, getting up from a chair or bending over, without it.

An estimated 1 in 7 Americans experiences a balance or dizziness problem each year, and the risk increases as you get older.

“In fact, trouble with balance is one of the most frequent reasons that older adults see a doctor,” said Dr. John Morgan of the Augusta University Movement Disorders/Parkinson’s Disease Center. “Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia, drug combinations, inner ear infection and nerve or muscle damage are all common causes.”

Try this exercise

Here’s an easy exercise to test how you stand (or wobble) and to help improve your balance:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of you.
  2. Lift your left foot and bend your leg back.
  3. Hold this position for five seconds, then lower your leg to the floor briefly.
  4. Repeat five more times and then switch legs.

Make it easier: Stand near a table, a wall, a chair or a counter top on which you can rest your hand or a finger.

Make it harder: Do the exercise without holding on to anything. Lengthen the time you stand on each leg. Finally, try closing your eyes as you perform the exercise.

Need additional help?

If you have a medical condition such as Parkinson’s disease that affects your equilibrium, talk to the Augusta University Movement Disorders/Parkinson’s Disease Center first about options to help your balance. You may need to see a physical therapist who can show you appropriate exercises. Call 706-721-2798.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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