Thursday, April 23, 2009

Better balance: an important issue for retirees

As we age, our balance is affected (and not in a good way!) by several factors. Gravity takes its toll on our posture, as does sitting at a computer or in a recliner chair for most of the day. Poor posture causes our spine to be out of alignment which therefore affects our balance. Loss of flexibility and strength also contribute to a decline in the body’s responses to situations in which balance is challenged. Decreased circulation can negatively influence the brain’s ability to recover from loss of balance. Declining sensory input such as hearing, vision, and sensation are additional factors that contribute to falls. Muscles that are deconditioned from inactivity are less efficient in preventing falls.
The good news is, that many of these physical and neurological losses can be compensated for. Other factors that can help us avoid falls have to do with how we manage our physical environment.
As a Certified Senior Strength Trainer and specializing in age-associated issues, I would like to offer some helpful suggestions in my next several blogs. Some are aimed at basic home safety, while others include exercises and balance drills.
As always, before beginning any kind of exercise program, be sure you have cleared this with your family physician. And if you want to try some of the balance activities, be sure you have someone to spot you, or are in an area where you can be safe while performing them.