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Bobby Brown
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Bobby Brown   My Press Releases

Keeping Your Balance

Published on 9/13/2017
For additional information  Click Here

Balance matters

People often don’t think of balance as an element of fitness, so they don’t focus on it—until they start having balance problems and begin to trip or fall. Having good balance involves the integration of various sensory and neuromotor systems, including vision, muscle strength, joint flexibility, reaction time, the vestibular system in the inner ear (which monitors motion and provides orientation clues) and the ability to sense where your body is in space. If ...any of these systems are not functioning properly, you can lose your balance even while just walking or standing up.

Older people often have poor balance due to loss of muscle strength, as well as reduced vision and reaction time. The risk of inner ear dysfunction increases with age. Lack of exercise, obesity, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the lower legs, alcohol, certain drugs and even wearing the wrong eyeglasses can also interfere with balance, at any age. If you are over 60 or have poor balance at any age, ask your health care provider to check your sense of balance.

If you have balance problems, it’s best to start with walking and simple exercises. Many kinds of exercise— including running, strength training and most sports—can help improve balance and agility. Any activity that increases strength, especially in your lower limbs, is worthwhile. In particular, you may want to try tai chi. Originally a Chinese martial art, this ancient practice involves slow, balanced, low-impact movements done in sequences; it improves coordination, muscle strength and all-around fitness. Studies have documented its ability to improve balance and decrease falls.

Workout props include wooden or plastic balance boards, which sit on a short base that acts as a fulcrum, as well as large vinyl exercise balls. Sold in sporting goods stores, they come with instructions about balance exercises. If you think you have serious balance problems, it’s a good idea to begin with a trainer at a gym or with a physical therapist or athletic trainer. At home, be sure to have someone spot you or at least have something to hold onto so you don’t fall. Try to do some sort of balance training for 10 to 15 minutes, three times a week.

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