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:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of you.
- Lift your left foot and bend your leg back.
- Hold this position for five seconds, then lower your leg to the floor briefly.
- 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.