Unfortunately, as we get older, sometimes things that are really easy become more difficult. Things like getting up and down off the floor or walking on uneven surfaces, inclines, gravel, etc. You might find yourself tripping over things you never did before, like door thresholds, rugs, or the cobblestones downtown.
There are several factors as to why our steadiness declines. Lack of abdominal/postural strength, inactivity, or lack of engaging in new physical activities are major factors. Our perception of risk also changes as we age, and our engagement in "risky" behaviors will decline. For example, when you leave a store and walk across the parking lot to your car, do you step down the curb or use the ramp? Do you step up onto the median and walk in the mulched area or do you walk around and stay on the asphalt? Are you able to take a large step over a water puddle or do you walk around?
Your body will adapt over time to whatever activities you do, or in the case of balance, DON'T do. Here are some recommendations we have to help you improve your steadiness.
1 - Grab some hiking poles. Walking poles are excellent for helping you increase your activity, confidence, and steadiness with walking. We recommend walking poles over a cane because using two walking poles
will allow your body to keep a normal bilateral arm swing and alternation.
2 - Abdominal and postural strengthening. Our abdominal, hamstring, and tricep strength are critical for not only posture, but also for steadiness and balance.
3 - Reflexology. Did you know that reflexology can help you sense the ground better? By stimulating pressure points on the bottom of your feet, your brain will develop a stronger connection to the ground and help with your ability to stabilize yourself. We recommend a series of 6-8 treatments over 3 months. Benefits are even greater when combined with physical therapy.
4 - Balance exercises. Some of our favorite activities are sitting to stand from a chair with no hands, weightshifting activities, tandem standing, and resistance band activities while standing. If you have a history of falls, we DO NOT recommend doing balance exercises by yourself. Falling while practicing balance activities defeats the purpose of working on your stability, plus it makes for quite the embarrassing story!
If you are having balance issues and want to get better, give us a call! We will help set you up with physical therapy and/or reflexology. We recommend a physical therapy assessment to determine your fall risk, safety, and to help develop a plan that works for you!
Book your appointment with us here or call 843-790-4515.