DAVE WATTS, MD
Different ways to improve your balance and prevent injuries
As our bodies age, the threat of falling becomes more dangerous due to bone density loss and other natural factors. A simple slip and fall could result in knee injuries hip pain, or worse. While it’s hard to predict or prevent damage to the body after a fall, it is possible to gain more control over our balance as we age. Any orthopedic hip specialist will tell you that the key to staying safe and strong is exercise and building up good muscle memory. With a bit of research and the help of the best Sioux Falls orthopedic doctors, you can find the daily exercises that help you retain balance and stay strong as you age. Here are a few basics to start out with.
As one of the most recognizable yoga poses out there, tree pose is an exercise you’re most likely familiar with. With your hands either clasped in front of your chest or raised in a dome shape above your head, lift one leg up so that the foot is resting on the inner thigh. Don’t worry about getting your foot too high unless you want the stretch to intensify. Try doing this for 30-second intervals or more to develop better balance and concentration. If you’re going for a challenge and also want more of a stretch, try resting your foot on your thigh just above your knee and bending slightly. This will help you strengthen your core and build a more balanced center.
If balancing exercises give you a bit of trouble, the best way to get better is to pick a spot in the distance and focus on it. This won’t just help you stay centered, it will take your mind off the task of staying balanced in an unfamiliar position. You can also practice focusing by standing still and putting your thumb in front of your line of vision, moving it from left to right while staying focused on the target.
Walking in a straight line requires more balance than you’d imagine. If you’re new to this exercise, start off by practicing with a grab bar or wall nearby to catch your balance. Try walking in a completely straight line by placing your heel in front of your toe with each step. Move at your own pace and remember not to rush.
While squats require a bit more coordination, they can be extremely helpful when it comes to building your core and strengthening your balance. Squats are also a great exercise to do to train your reflexes to stop you from hitting the ground after tripping. Keep your arms in front of you, drop past the crease of your hip and repeat the movement. By placing your body in a sturdy position and focusing your weight on your heels rather than your toes, you’ll be able to get a better sense of where your body is holding its weight. Try doing at least 10 squats a day to build up central strength and feel more secure in a wide stance.