One of the very most important ways to maintain your future physical ability is to invest in maintaining your balance.
Loss of balance capability is one of the most significant influences on functional independence as we get older, but our balance starts to decline decades earlier without us realising.
Illness or injury can disturb our balance, and so can our daily lives unless we actively seek challenges. It really is a case of use it or lose it, so if we always choose the flat footpaths, lean against the side of our beds to put our socks on, and hold on to railings and handles whenever they are offered, we start to lose the confidence and capability to cope with uneven footing, heights, narrow paths and wobbly situations.
So what can you do? Start to build little balance opportunities into your daily life, in the home or outside. Don’t worry about the wobbles and sways – if you stay soft in your joints and allow your body to experiment with finding its balance, this is a good thing, as it is expanding your capability! Start at a level that challenges but doesn’t scare you. Choose a bumpier path and practice flowing over it without tightening up; stay standing to put your socks on; walk one foot in front of the other along a line in the car park, or stand near a wall for support and see what it is like to shut your eyes as you stand on one leg.
Every little bit helps, every day. For extra help on improving your balance, check out our video: balance tip 1.