If you want to improve your balance but you do not how, you are not alone. Poor balance causes falls, and according to the Centers for disease Control (CDC) one out of every three individuals over 65 falls each year. Moreover, falls are the leading cause of hospitalization due to injury, and poor balance is often a factor leading to the fall.
The good news is, balance is a skill and you can improve your balance with GroupHab’s Balance and Fall Prevention exercise program!
To create the appropriate balance exercise program it is helpful to know how the balance system works. Our balance system is a complex interaction of many different systems working together.
Visual: Your vision provides information to your brain regarding where your body is in the environment and how your body needs to adapt to the environment.
Somatosensory: Everyone has special sensors in tendons, muscles, joints and skin that are sensitive to stretch, touch, vibration, and pressure. These sensors work together with the brain to provide information as to how the body is positioned.
Vestibular: Balance organs in the inner ear tell the brain about the movements and position of your head. This system keeps your eyes focused as your head is moved.
Neuromuscular: Nerves and muscles work together for initiation of movement, reaction time, speed of movement, amount of power of movement, and coordination of movement.
Musculoskeletal: Muscle strength and flexibility of movement.
Balance is a complex combination and interaction of these system. If one system is impaired other systems may compensate.
A physical therapist will perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the cause of your balance deficits.
A good balance exercise program needs to feel challenging, as though you are about to lose your balance performing the exercises. If you feel steady doing the balance exercises then the balance program is not working. A balance exercise program should have a wide range of exercises and dynamic challenges for all of the systems. For example, the use of different standing surfaces, visual challenges, multi-tasking with the use of a ball with cognitive challenges, head movements, combination of movements, static challenges as well as dynamic challenges, faster and slower movements, etc. The ideal balance exercise program should NOT have the exact same exercises performed over and over. Continual challenges, progression, and mixing it up is necessary for best results.
GroupHab Physical Therapy offers a variety of fun and challenging exercise classes designed to improve your balance. See us for an assessment and join a class.
Visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website for more information.