Every year one out of three people over the age of 65 will fall. Many of these falls result in injuries and reduced quality of life. Balance training for seniors can be very beneficial, but, what are balance training benefits?
You may have seen the ad on TV that starts out telling you that one out of every three people over the age of 65 will fall this year.
Did you know that one out of five of THOSE falls results in a serious injury?
If that was the end of it, that would be enough reason to think about the benefits of balance training if you are, or, someone you love is, a senior.
However, the repercussions from senior falls don't always end there.
Falls by seniors often result in broken hips and head injuries. Again, that's pretty bad, especially for an older person, but, also again, it doesn't always end there.
Seniors who have fallen, and even many who haven't, become afraid of falling, cutting down on the very activity which could be helping them maintain their health and enjoyment of life.
Even worse, a fall by a senior is often literally the first misstep on a downward slope that can increase the speed with which old age overtakes them, and which can even lead directly to death.
So, you can begin to understand that balance training for seniors can be very beneficial, but, what are balance training benefits?
I doubt you have ever heard the word, "proprioception". Not many people have.
Proprioception refers to your body's ability to sense joint positioning.
In other words, the muscles connected around the joints send messages to the brain which help the brain figure out your body's position.
This is an ongoing process, every minute, every hour, every day, and, together with other parts of the body, helps keep you maintain your balance and stand, or move around, without falling over or bumping into things.
Unfortunately, like so many other things, as we age, our bodies tend to lose this propriocentric messaging, and this contributes to falls by seniors.
It is a fact, by the way, that, in today's sedentary society, that it is not just seniors who are likely to fall and injure themselves. Our kids are sitting around a lot, as are their parents, and, it is this lack of movement which contributes to a faster decline in our sense of balance.
The good news is that a lot of this is preventable and reversible.
While any activity involving movement can contribute to an improved sense of balance, there are specific balance training exercises which have benefits as well.
So, what's the difference between exercise and balance training?
Well, according to the CDC, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, balance training is both static, and dynamic, exercises which are specifically designed to improve an individual's ability to cope with postural sway, or destabilizing stimuli, caused by their own motion, the environment, or other objects.
To put it another way, balance training involves exercises which promote balance directly, and the recovery of balance when the individual may trip, bump into another object, or encounter any sort of unstabile event, surface, or circumstance.
While regular physical activities and exercise can contribute a lot to a person's ability to maintain and recover their balance, balance training has some specific benefits
Balance training concentrates on areas, skills, and goals which help prevent senior falls. Balance training must also be simple and inexpensive to make it available to the senior population. There are three major considerations to be taken into account.
BUILD CORE STRENGTH
Any balance training method should improve core strength.
Most of us think of our "core" muscles as being in the abdomen and in the back, However, the core muscles also involve, and depend on, strength and flexibility in the hips and the pelvic area. Weakness in these areas not only puts a greater strain on the back, but, can also lead to falls, strains, "pulls", or the good old-fashioned "bad back" that is the butt of so many jokes.
IMPROVE JOINT STABILITY
When we DO lose our balance, it is not only strong muscles that help save us from injury, but also that propriocentric mechanism discussed earlier. Balance training bring about better joint stability, while helping the body become better at reacting to an unstable environment by contracting the right muscles at the right time. This also helps prevent joint dysfunction, and injury.
SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE
No real extra equipment should be required for a good balance training program.
Certainly, there are balance boards and other pieces of balance exercise equipment which CAN be used in balance training, but, in the home setting, all you really should need is a floor to stand on and perhaps a chair to provide stability.
IT IS STILL EXERCISE
One point often overlooked when discussing balance training is that it IS still exercise! In addition to benefits of balance training that apply directly to one's balance, you are also getting some exercise, which is also important at any age, but, especially so for seniors.
FREE BALANCE TRAINING
A fitness expert named Mike Ross offers a FREE 4-Day Better Balance Training Course. He shows you several strategies that can help you both improve your balance, and reduce your risk of falling. His free balance training course includes videos of exercises that you can start doing at home right away.
When you sign up for the free balance training course from Mike Ross, you'll get immediate access to Part 1, and then each succesive day you will receive another part of the course in your email.
Day 1 – Exercises for balance (video)
Day 2 – Exercises for coordination and control (video)
Day 3 – Stronger legs prevent falls (video)
Day 4 – Better posture for better balance (video)
Anti-Aging: Balance Training Benefits
Page Updated Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Copyright 2020 by Donovan Baldwin