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Help Prevent Falls with Steady Balance

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Balance and mobility are based on a certain degree of strength in both the upper and lower body. Difficulty in getting up, or pushing upward with your arms, from a chair or sofa might be an indication of upper body weakness. Lower-body weakness or unsteadiness is a warning sign for potential falls and decreased mobility. People who don’t view themselves as particularly athletic still need to engage in exercise to maintain their independence.

Falls can happen to anyone, but the common denominator in most falls is age. Many of the people at high risk for falls are the same ones who have lost some of their mobility. One in every three adults 65 years and older will fall this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An injury that begins with a fall can develop into restricted mobility that negatively affects the way you live. At first it’s a hard to get around situation, but it can end with a smaller world in which a person can’t walk very far, can’t drive, can’t travel, and can’t enjoy normal activities that once were taken for granted.

Here are a few exercises that can help improve your balance:

1. One-Legged Balance
Start with this beginning move, keeping a stable chair or a wall within arms’ reach. With feet together, pick up one foot—knee facing forward or to the side. Hold the position with eyes open, then closed. Switch feet and repeat for four reps on each foot.

2. Leg Swings
(Again, have a chair or wall within reach) Stand on your right leg and raise the left leg three to six inches off the floor. With arms at your sides, swing your left leg forward and backward, touching the floor for balance, while keeping your torso erect. Now, repeat the moves, but don’t allow your foot to touch the ground. And finally, swing the left foot to the left side, holding the right arm out. Switch legs and repeat.

3. One-Legged Clock With Arms
(Again, chair) Balance on one leg, torso straight, head up, and hands on the hips. Visualize a clock and point your arm straight overhead to 12, then to the side (three), and then circle low and around to nine without losing your balance.

These are core-building exercises that will significantly improve your balance. If you think these exercises might be too difficult for you at this point, let me know, and we can show you other exercises to get you started!

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