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Improving Balance: The Pendulum

The ability to maintain balance quickly diminishes after the mid-50’s – increasing the risk for falls and other adverse health outcomes.

According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “Within the limitations of uncontrolled variables, such as recent history of falls and physical activity, the ability to successfully complete the 10-s OLS (one leg stance) is independently associated with all-cause mortality and adds relevant prognostic information beyond age, sex and several other anthropometric and clinical variables.” (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/56/17/975).

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says, “A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy. If you are standing, sitting, or lying down, you might feel as if you are moving, spinning, or floating. If you are walking, you might suddenly feel as if you are tipping over.”

Balance disorders can be caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or the brain.

We will focus for the next three weeks on ways to improve balance related to spatial awareness.

The Pendulum

Standing on one leg, lean forward with the upper torso, while extending the non-support leg parallel to the ground. The opposite arm from the support leg points to the ground. Hold for a 2-count. Swing back to the starting position – standing on both feet. Repeat with opposite leg and arm. An advanced version is to stand on a small, sofa pillow, which will require more stabilization with the abdominal muscles.

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

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