Following this checklist may help you improve your balance and stay on your toes.
To help improve your balance and prevent falls, take one step at a time. Being sedentary may feel like the safest route, but it may make the problem worse.
Many different factors help you achieve good balance. You need good posture, muscle strength, coordination, and good vision and hearing. Take simple steps to strengthen these abilities, boost your balance, and maintain your independence.
It is essential to stay active. If your muscles and joints don’t get a regular workout, they get weaker over time. And that puts you at greater risk for balance problems. The more you strengthen and take care of your body, the better your chances of staying independent
Physical activity helps improve posture, muscle strength, coordination, and stability. Always check with your doctor before you increase your activity level.
- Posture. Aging often affects how you stand and sit. Simple exercises may help you regain your good posture. Try sitting on the edge of a chair, bend your knees, and rise to standing slowly while keeping your back and neck tall. Sit down again and repeat.
- Muscle strength. Having strong muscles helps you regain your footing quickly and effectively if you start to lose your balance. Ask your doctor to suggest a strength-training program for you. Lack of activity weakens your muscles. Exercise can help you build and tone muscles and avoid muscle deterioration. It can also help increase flexibility, another vital component of good balance.
- Coordination. As you age, you may become less aware of your posture, movement, and positioning. This can lead to strains and sprains as well as falls. Flexibility and regular physical activity can help counteract this. Practicing yoga and tai chi may be good ways to work towards these goals.
Check your vision and hearing
As you age, your sight and hearing may change. This can also affect your balance.
- Vision. Not being able to see clearly can make you lose your footing. An eyeglass prescription that needs to be updated, as well as eye conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts, can impair your vision significantly. See your doctor for regular eye checkups.
- Hearing. Even slight changes in hearing can affect your balance. So be sure to get your hearing checked often and wear a well-fitting hearing aid if you need it.
More balance-enhancing tips
You can take other steps to help restore and maintain good balance. The following can improve your balance – and your life:
- Check your medications. Side effects of some drugs can affect your balance. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to help.
- Get up slowly when you’ve been sitting or lying down. This can help prevent sudden drops in blood pressure that can make you unsteady.
- Fall-proof your house:
- Keep rooms well lit.
- Keep floors free of clutter.
- Make sure any rugs or carpets are firmly attached to the floor.
- Wear wide-toed, flat shoes with rubber soles. Don’t go barefoot or walk around just in socks.
- Use a cane or walker if your doctor has recommended one for more stability.