Never accept that your balance deteriorating is just one of those things. NEVER. Because it’s not. That is unless of course you’ve decided it is and are determined not to do anything about it. If your balance is poor now, I can say with absolute certainty that unless you act now to improve upon it, it will DEFINITELY become EVEN WORSE with time.
Good balance is not about holding yourself rigidly with no hint of a wobble. Good balance is staying upright on your legs, righting yourself as you wobble so you don’t fall down. The more you practice wobbling hither and thither the more you train your brain to know what to do when you slip and slide and trip and trot. There is no mystery, it is the wonder of your brain’s neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s ability to adapt to the stimulus you give it.
Part of the reason balance deteriorates with age, is because balance reactions are challenged less often. We become more fearful of falling so we avoid activities that might prove us right. However, the less you challenge your balance the more sluggish your reactions become. I am NOT suggesting you put yourself at any risk of falling. I am saying work out what you know you can control in terms of your balance reactions and from there, move your limbs and body just that wee bit further. Keep repeating this and your balance will respond. Even if the response is that your balance deteriorates no further, that is STILL A WIN.
Time to stretch!
Before you start on any of the advice offered here, I recommended a spot of warming up. It will help focus your mind on how your body feels, as well as preparing your muscles and joints and your brain, for what’s to come.
So you can:
- Walk on the spot or march on the spot (with vigorous arms…) or jog on the spot
- Rise up onto your toes
- Swing your arms over head and behind your back and around your body
As in sticky number one, place the tops of your feet flat to the floor and slowly lean back on your heels to stretch the front of your ankle. Lean on your hands as much as needed if this is too much of a stretch without. Alternatively place a small rolled towel in front of your ankle to offer some support while you work on your flexibility.
With sticky number two, tuck your toes under and while leaning on your hands, sit back on your heels as far as you feel able. Stretch the sole of your feet and toes. The warmer your feet, the easier these stretches will be. Hold both positions for a slow count of 10 and repeat twice.
And now for some balance exercises!
If you feel these are too advanced, keep the movements less adventurous and a little smaller to begin with. Become more adventurous as your confidence and ability improves. It doesn’t matter how many times you put your foot down, so don’t let that stop you from working on this.
To maximise your balance, the stronger and more flexible your toes, ankles and legs, the greater your balance control. So have some fun with me…
(Enlarge the videos by clicking the bottom right icon>>>)
And for the cherry on the cake, here are some toe, ankle and leg strengthening exercises…
And the piste de resistance for your toes…
Whatever your starting point, believe me when I say:
IT IS NEVER TO LATE, YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD, TO MAKE MORE OF YOUR LIFE WITH BODY YOU’RE IN.
So dig deep, aim high, expect more of your body today, for your life tomorrow.