When working with clients over the age of 60, balance is always a concern. They ask me how they can work on it because they’re noticing a decline, which also means a decline in confidence and quality of life.
Doing exercises that challenge a person’s balance are scary, fact. Nobody wants to fall, and nobody wants to look foolish practicing and stumbling as they do so. The cold hard truth is you have to stumble as you work through improving balance. There are reasons why over time you lost confidence and ability, same as gaining weight. The process takes time and consistent work to improve and maintain balance. The CDC says a person should be able to stand on each leg without falling for 15 seconds. To assess, do a simple test by seeing if you can stand on each leg for 15 seconds without falling. Depending on your results, it’s time to implement more work.
The brain has the ability to rebuild neural pathways as the result of varied stimulus. This process is called neuroplasticity and is responsible for helping stroke victims relearn speech, for example. Harnessing the power of neuroplasticity is simple and doesn’t require conscious thought and effort. Standing on one leg and reaching above your head in a shoulder press motion for two sets of 10 repetitions, can build a new neural pathway that allows this motion to be performed easier with practice. After a few weeks of doing this motion two-to-three times per week, you notice it is easier and have more confidence.
Let’s take this example a step further. You have cups on a top shelf cabinet to put away. It requires you to perform almost the identical motion that you’ve been practicing in your exercise regimen. Now instead of asking someone for help, you put the cups away without much thought. Balance has been restored to your life, so activities of daily living are easier and automatic. Neuroplasticity allowed you to rewire your brain and the results are life changing.
How can you implement a balance program without feeling awkward? Begin with Movement Academy’s Active Aging Home-Based Exercise Program is a great way. The focus begins on balance and stability movements accessed from your phone or any device. 15 minutes a day, a couple times per week and suddenly difficult physical tasks become simpler, guaranteed. You don’t have to worry about what to do next because the program automatically progresses and challenges you with updates each month. No embarrassing time spent at a gym necessary. Soon your friends notice a change in your attitude and a renewed confidence.
If for some reason you’re still afraid to use a home-based program, try standing on one leg for the CDC required 15 seconds. Practice it multiple times a day per leg. You will get better over time and with consistent effort. If you’re an experienced gym goer, do some of your standard exercises on one leg. You may need to reduce the weight you use at first. The added difficulty helps your proprioception, which is how your body reacts in various spatial environments. For example, do dumbbell biceps curls standing on one leg. Do one set on your right, then one on your left leg. Any small change the body must adapt to makes a big difference and improvement!
To get your first month 50% off for the Active Aging Home-Based Exercise Program, enter code BRAIN at checkout. Go to Movement Academy and get started today!