As we age it seems as though we have found a good sense of stability in life regardless of how the world around us is changing. We know that change is inevitable and cannot be avoided, so we have learned that in order to survive we must embrace adaptability.
The same is true with our bodies. As we age in order to survive the aging process we must be willing to adapt. Finding your bodies balance is key to optimizing your personal health. Learning to work with your body and how it best moves along with its limitations can not only protect your joints and stability but also reduce risk of future injury and increase your overall quality of life.
WHAT IS BALANCE?
According to vestibular.org, balance is the ability to maintain the body’s center of mass over its base of support.
WHAT CAN AFFECT BALANCE?
There are many contributing factors that affect good balance as we age; these include vision loss (perhaps due to diabetes), inner ear problems, and a decline in the sensors that are a part of the position and movement of the feet and legs.
WHY ARE THE ELDERLY AT A GREATER RISK?
As we age we are more susceptible to certain diseases and other ailments that could potentially affect our balance. Some examples are, Cataracts, glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Macular degeneration, Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, potential medication side effects such as dizziness, and heart or blood circulation problems.
DID YOU KNOW?
20 - 40% of adults over the age of 65 who live at home fall
12 - 67% if elderly adults who fracture a hip die within 1 year
Older people with chronic dizziness or imbalances are 2-3x more likely to fall in comparison with older people who do not experience these problems
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF?
Proper footwear: If you don’t invest in a good foundation then there is NO stability in all that is connected. Take care of your feet!!
Exercise: Exercising increases stability, endurance and strength. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine also decreases the recovery time, in the event you do experience a fall. Knowing your limitations is key! Modify any and all exercises as needed to ensure a SAFE and effective workout the best suits you.
Nutrition: Being mindful of what we put into our bodies is essential to our overall health and wellbeing. Following a proper eating plan allows your body to utilize the vital nutrients that aids in proper organ function as well increase bone health and density, thus minimizing risk of injury and improving recovery time from injuries.
Stress Management: Yes, stress can alter your focus, and attention to detail. The less aware you are not only of your surroundings but also yourself, the more likely you are to fall and potentially hurt yourself. Scientific research shows that stress can also manifest physically, this could then feed into physical degeneration or chronic disease progression.
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