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What is balance?

  • Visual
  • Vestibular - balance centre
  • Somatosensory - body/sensory
  • Musculoskeletal

These 4 systems overlap to maintain balance, but as we age, the overlap reduces.

Why do we need to do balance exercises?

As you get older, you may start having trouble with your balance due to:

  • Weakness                                          
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic conditions (arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, etc.)
  • Medications

Important for fall prevention

Each year, more than 1/3 of people age 65 or older fall. Falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person's life. If you fall, it could limit your activities or make it impossible to live independently. Balance exercises, along with certain strength exercises, can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body's position, whether you are moving or still.

You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold on to if you become unsteady. In the beginning, using a chair or the wall for support will help you work on your balance safely.

Balance exercises overlap with lower body strength exercises, which also can improve your balance.

Modify as you progress

The exercises which follow can improve your balance even more if you modify them as you progress. Start by holding on to a sturdy chair for support. To challenge yourself, try holding on to the chair with only one hand. With time, you can try holding on with only one finger, then no hands. If you are steady on your feet, try doing the exercise with your eyes closed.

Safety tips

  • Have a sturdy chair or a person nearby to hold on to if you feel unsteady.
  • Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about doing a particular exercise.

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