Updated: Feb 1
If you are worrying about falls and losing your confidence because you are becoming more and more unsteady on your feet, this blog is for you!
Our physical therapy team share some proven strategies that have worked for hundreds of our senior patients looking to improve their balance, and stay active.
In this blog, discover how to improve balance, which is crucial for remaining happy, healthy and being able to enjoy doing the things you love.
"Why Am I Losing My Balance?"
There are lots of potential reasons for losing your balance more often, however in our experience, the most common causes are medication, health conditions, injuries and inactivity.
Medication such as sleep aids, and painkillers can often have side effects which affect your balance. Avoiding painkillers is a big reason why patients visit our clinics - for natural, drug-free pain relief solutions.
You may also suffer with health conditions which can impact your balance such as arthritis or Parkinson's disease.
Finally, injuries and inactivity can severely reduce your balance, where certain muscles are overworked and painful leading to altered movement patterns (such as walking with a limp) or certain muscles being too weak from inactivity making walking up stairs and getting out of the chair a challenge for your balance and coordination.
If you want to determine the root cause of your balance problems, and discover the best way to regain your confidence and stability, take advantage of our FREE balance assessments.
How To Improve Balance
The best advice on how to improve balance depends on the root cause of the issue, and we've outlined just a few potential causes above.
For the majority of patients, there can be big improvements made in a relatively short space of time through incorporating balance-strengthening exercises and activities.
Activities that are popular, and help improve balance safely are:
Walking, cycling and even climbing the stairs strengthens lower body muscles.
If your balance is extremely poor, you can use an exercise bike, or stair stepper which can be a safer alternative.
Exercises can also help improve your balance through stretching, strengthening and challenging your coordination.
A big challenge to staying active for many who come to our clinic, is often long term injuries such as knee, back or shoulder pain.
These problems can often make exercise uncomfortable, and lead to people avoiding activities to minimize pain.
Unfortunately, this creates a vicious cycle, which is why Physical Therapy can be a very important drug-free solution for these common problems and lead to improved balance.
Two Simple Exercises To Improve Your Balance
The most appropriate exercises for you will depend on your circumstances, but here are two that are easy to do.
If your balance is very poor, it can be reassuring to do these exercises with someone who can prevent you falling, and provide additional support if needed.
To do these, standing with your feet hip-width apart, and slowly lean on your left leg until it’s bearing all of your weight and lift your right leg up from the floor. Try and hold this position for up to 30 seconds, and then alternate to the other side.
To give you confidence during this exercise, stand holding something sturdy such as a chair or table. To start, lift your left foot at around calf level and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this up to 15 times and then switch to the other leg. If this is relatively easy for you to do, stand with only one hand on the support. If that is still easy for you, don't hold onto anything for additional support.
"How Can I Tell If My Balance Is Improving?"
Balance can be difficult to measure yourself, however our physical therapy team can use a range of tests, and exercise progressions to make sure that you are getting steadier on your feet, and making quick progress.
A relatively easy measure that you can do is to time yourself when doing the two exercises described above.
Over a short time, you should begin to notice improvements and be ready to take on more advanced exercises which help you get stronger and be able to keep up with the grandkids, tackle the grocery shopping with ease and end the constant fear of falling.
How To Improve Your Balance
We understand that you want to be able to regain your confidence, walk without fear of falling, and not need to grab onto things as you move through your own home...
That's why we are offering a free balance assessment in our Lexington clinic so you can discover what is causing the issues, and learn about the most effective ways to fix the problem FAST!
Arrange a free balance assessment in under 60 seconds using our online form, or give us a call at 859-303-6393. We are open and meeting all CDC and State Guidelines to care for you in person or through our online home visits.
Don't let a fear of falls get in the way of living your life independently.