Balance is a skill that is often taken for granted and we tend not to focus on it until it becomes diminished or impaired. Although, this is one component that we should all incorporate into our exercise programs. Balance exercises are great for increasing stability and proprioception, essential elements in aiding the recovery from injury or managing a chronic condition. Most importantly, balance should be challenged regularly as a preventive measure.
At a young age, performance gains from enhancing balance may seem insignificant and focus is often shifted towards building strength and endurance. However, through balance exercises we can help prevent and reduce the risk of injury. This becomes increasingly more important as we get older. Decreased balance is a significant factor that contributes to falls in the elderly. Statistics show that one in four people over the age of 65 have a fall each year. A simple fall from loss of balance may seemingly be of little consequence, but as we get older the risk of serious injury becomes increasingly higher and some injuries sustained can even be life-threatening. In 2013-2014 the incidence in Australia of falls-related hospitalizations, in people aged 65 and over was 103,025. Such a statistic highlights the need to focus on our balance skills now, in order to secure our future health and well-being.
Here are some simple exercises you can do at home to challenge your balance:
– Single leg balance (with eyes open or closed)
– Tandem walk
– Single leg touchdowns
– Single leg balance with ball pass