According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) in 2010 falls by older adults cost the U.S health care system 30 billion dollars. Haven’t you heard of somebody who lost their balance and end up in hospitail?
Most of this can be avoided with some basic balance training. Here are 3 tests you can do at home to test your balance. Don’t be a statistic. Do this.
1.Sit to stand.
Stand up from a seated position. Try not to use your hands for support
Poor- Need minimal assistance to stand and balance.
Good- Able to stand by yourself by using your hands
Excellent- Able to stand with no assistance and stand independently
To improve, do this- Wall Squat.
Stand approx. 1 ½- 2 feet away from a wall, feet hip width apart and lean back slowly to wall. Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your ankles are directly underneath your knees and toes pointed forward. Your head upper and lower back are in contact with the wall. Hold up to 1 min. Do daily.
2.Stand to sit.
Slowly lower yourself into a chair, trying not to use your hands for support
Poor- You can sit independently but you have an uncontrolled descent.
Good- Controlled descent by using your hands.
Excellent- - You sit safely with minimal use of your hands
To improve, do this- Modified Chair Sit.
Using the same chair, take note of the point where you begin to lose control. Add cushions/pillows to the chair to raise it to this point. Without using your hands slowly sit down and slowly stand back up. Repeat 3- 6 times, 3-4 times per week. As you feel stronger take away one cushion/pillow to increase your sitting distance.
3. Standing on one leg.
Please stand on one leg for as long as you can without holding on to anything. For safety reasons, please be within arm’s reach of a wall or chair. Have a stop watch or clock handy.
Poor- You try to lift your leg but you are unable to hold your balance for 3 seconds.
Good- You are able to lift your leg independently and hold your balance for 5-10 seconds
Excellent- Balance on one leg for over 10 seconds.
To improve, do this- Standing leg lifts
Stand arm’s length away from the wall. Place your hands on the wall and stand tall. Slowly lift your leg out to the side, avoiding swaying too much to the standing leg side and slowly return to legs together. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each leg. As you feel more confident, remove hand from the wall and stand unassisted.
Most falls can be prevented with as little as 10 -15 minutes of balance training 3 times per week. So take some time out of your busy life to find your balance. Your body and wallet will thank you.