Good afternoon everyone. Today I'd like to talk about how we can minimize declining balance and stability as we age.
Declining balance is something we really don't think about until we notice it on a personal level. Does anybody agree with that?
Let's look at some statistics
What if you have multiple titanium implants, such as hips. I have been riddled with surgical implants.
According to the centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults over age 65 fall each year.
Do you feel the implants have affected your balance?
Every year 10,000 seniors die as a result of a fall
50% of those who fall cannot return home or live independently after their injuries
Falls account for 87% of all fractures in older adults
These are significant and scary statistics, but we can do something about it.
There are three systems of balance -somatosensory- provides information about the surface we are standing on by way of pressure receptors in our skin and proprioceptors in our muscles with the medicine joints. -visual system- provides information about the relationship of the head and eyes to surrounding objects. -vestibular system - located in the inner ear and provides information about head movements relative to gravity as well as direction and speed of movement as fluid moves during head motion.
There are reasons for the declines in balance that we cannot control as well as things we can control
Reasons for decline imbalance that we cannot control are -declining vision -inner ear disturbances -vertigo sensation that you or your environment is moving or spinning -medications
So what are the factors that we can control to minimize declines and balance?
Posture and core stability -shoulders over hips head squared over the shoulders Loss of strength -15 to 20% per decade after age 50 - weak muscles are less able to maintain balance and stop a fall before it happens Loss of flexibility -tight and flexible muscles increase the chance of a fall especially when reaching or bending out of one's range of motion Loss of kinesthetic awareness -body's ability to understand and sense where it is in space decreases -decrease in depth perception -unsteadiness and lack of agility may ultimately lead to a fall Lack of mindfulness Unnecessary hazards in the environment
That's quite a few factors that we have control over, so we have the control to minimize declining balance
The problem is, and I'm sure many of you will agree, that we don't think about it until we're actually there.
The key is to set realistic goals to improve our balance, or to stop it from declining
The good news is that losses can be reversed at any age!
So let's go back to the goals
Last week I talked about SMART goals
Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time bound
And remember always get clearance from your physician before starting any type of exercise program.
So let me give you a few examples.
One common way to improve balance is single leg stance.
Using our smart goals system let's create an example, feel free to chime in if you'd like.
First always remember, when we're working on balance we we should have something to hold on to without leaning, in case we need it. We don't want to lean on because that will take us away from our center, we just want to use it for stability to avoid falling.
Remember the first full of balance is posture, ears over shoulders shoulders over hips.
Here's our smart scenario; Specific- to successfully stand on one foot for 10 seconds after 4 weeks of practice. Measurable - 10 seconds Attainable - I can already stand on one foot for 5 seconds Realistic - if I can already stand on one foot for 5 seconds I'm sure I can stand on one foot for 10 seconds with practice Time bound- I'm getting myself a four weeks to get there.
This is how we reach our goals, one little step at a time. And if we have a setback, that's okay we're human, get right back on track.
And once we reach one little smart goal, we start working on another one. This isn't to say that we shouldn't have multiple goals, but realistic goals are ones that you can see yourself achieving and following through the steps that need to be done in order to reach the goal. If you can't see yourself doing it then it's not realistic.
I mentioned mindfulness earlier, this involves paying attention as we move especially. Unfortunately not paying attention accounts for a large percentage of falls. Do your best to stay mindful and everything you do.
Hazards in the environment. Make sure you're living space is free from clutter, things that you might trip over.
Taking small steps towards better balance will help you to reduce your risk of falling. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.