Balance as we age

Improving your balance as you age

Life is all about balance.

We all talk about it in one way or another. We talk about a ‘balancing out the good with the bad’, a ‘balanced diet’, ‘balancing the budget’ and ‘work-life balance’. But what about your physical balance? Today’s blog is courtesy of a local Allied Health Professional. Liam McCambridge, Osteopath and owner of NExT Osteo & Rehab. Liam has been a God-send for me over the past few years. Getting me back and moving after I’ve forgotten my limits and tweaked a muscle or two. In the blog below Liam discusses how important improving balance is, especially as we age.

It can be embarrassing.

Physical balance, or the ‘fine art of being able to remain on your feet’, is something we can take for granted. Growing up we learn to walk and from there we progress to running, jumping, hopping and standing on one leg with your eyes closed, (hopefully not while trying to convince a cop that you’re sober. But then suddenly, we get older and our balance isn’t what it used to be. This decline is a part of life and it can be frustrating, a little bit embarrassing and if it’s accompanied with a fall or two, a balance issue can even be painful. Of course, part of falling is so we can learn to pick ourselves back up, but falling as you get older can have bigger consequences.

The double whammy

Because the other thing that happens with age, (more to women than men, but it does affect both), is osteoporosis. And isn’t it just ‘convenient’ (read that as, not at ALL convenient) that our bones and balance start to fail us at around the same time. This in itself is the main reason for the importance of balance because all of a sudden, any fall can become more dangerous. The fact is, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experience a fracture secondary to osteoporosis over 50, and often these are a result of falls. Being able to maintain your balance and stay on your feet can make a big difference here and help significantly reduce your risk of major injury as you age.

Proprio-what-the?

The other reason balance is important is because of a bit of ‘nerdy’ word called proprioception. Proprioception is how aware your body is of where it is in space. The same parts of your muscles that provide balance also provide proprioception. So training one actually helps the other get better. Double win! This means if you have better balance, you reduce your injury risk with sports, exercise and general activity because your brain can better understand what your body is trying to do.

Get the building blocks right and the world is your oyster.

The best part is that by improving your balance and your ability to exercise, you can improve your muscle strength and get fitter. This reduces your risk of getting osteoporosis in the first place, and can slow or stop any further bone weakening if osteoporosis has already set in. Not only that, being fitter is then a great way to improve your overall heart health, brain health, diabetes and lung health. All of a sudden, balance is a very important building block to a happier and healthier life. This means that by performing some very simple balance exercises, you are setting yourself up to prevent major injury in more ways than one, as well as prevent and aid with chronic illnesses, helping you to enjoy life because you’re fit enough to do stuff.

Liam McCambridge operates his Osteo clinic from 129 Thuringowa Dr, Kirwan. Or head to his website at nextosteorehab.com.au to make a booking.

Next time: Four easy exercises for balance