Balance is something we develop at a very early age, as we learn to walk. One of my favorite photos, which unfortunately I lost a few computer crashes ago, is of a baby (perhaps a 1 year old), standing on his father’s hands, who was standing on a BOSU. The father was an athlete, a surfer, and his child knew no fear, as most don’t. He was perfectly balanced standing in his father’s hands, while dad stood on the flat side of a BOSU.
Unfortunately, balance is also something we lose as we age if we don’t actively work to maintain it. Most people don’t even consider that they have to work to maintain it, unless, someone like me reminds them.
It’s pretty easy to put balance training into your daily routine, as easy as standing on 1 leg whenever you brush your teeth. And it gets more complex as you add movement, as you do in Pilates. Consider that you only have weight on 1 foot while walking approximately 60-70% of the time. So balance is extremely important if you want to continue to walk without falling. And preventing a fall helps to prevent injury.
While it may not sound exciting, striving for balance in our everyday lives can promote an assortment of benefits. In fact, the benefits of physical balance go far beyond just being able to walk steadily.
This simple balance assessment is a great place to start. To begin, be sure to have something sturdy to hold onto nearby, and then close your eyes and stand on one foot. Keep track of how long you were able to hold this position.
This can be an eye-opening experience for those who believe they have good balance. Longevity researchers agree that good physical balance can turn back the clock not only physically but functionally. The time, in seconds, that you are able to hold this position correlates with your functional age.
28s = 25-30y
22s = 30-35y
16s = 40y
12s = 45y
9s = 50y
8s = 55y
7s = 60y
6s = 65y
4s = 70y
So is it time to start your balance training?
Trust & Speaking to Your Doctor
Your doctor is supposed to be someone you can trust. But this research indicates that we are reluctant to discuss some important information about ourselves with them.