Are you a middle-aged adult, who can’t stand on one leg for more than ten seconds? Then the risk of death increases by 84 percent. This is clear from the hadith British study. But how does that happen? And can you still improve your balance? We searched for it and put together three basic exercises in a row.
From bike riding to hopscotch competition. Every day you use your balance without giving much thought to it. But this can change with age. “It usually starts with simple things,” says physical therapist Ann Lowe. “Maybe you used to be able to stand on one leg to put on your shoes, and you stopped doing that. Or maybe you used to get out of the shower without thinking and now you have to hold on to something.”
It all sounds harmless, but it really isn’t. A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms. Scientists conducted 1,700 people between the ages of 51 and 75 to test the balance. Volunteers were asked to stand on a flat platform with their arms at their sides and their gazes forward. They were then given three attempts to balance on a foot of their choice for at least ten seconds. The participants were then followed for about seven years. What did you turn? One in five participants failed the test, making them 84% more likely to die.
Is there a reason?
Thus the loss of balance can shorten the life span. But why does someone have such a bad balance? Unfortunately, scientists do not have an unambiguous answer to this. The reason can be, for example, poor vision, but also a delay in nerve signals. In short, it is a medical problem without an obvious medical solution like surgery. “If you suddenly notice a balance difference, you should see a doctor immediately. Then there could be something serious at the root,” says Lowe.
Can you do something about this?
“The most important thing is to stay active,” Lowe advises. “Just try to do as many things as possible, and train your balance. It can be done very easily. For example, take your dog for a walk on a dirt road or go to a yoga class.” This is also confirmed by George Locker, expert in tai chi and author of ‘Falling down is not an option’: “It is important that you choose sports where you bend your knees or ankles. Think skiing, skating, snowboarding and surfing. That way you make it challenging enough.”
Previous sports are of course not obvious to the slightly older among us. That’s why we have listed three exercises that you can easily do at home. Practice this on a hard, flat surface.
stand on one leg
Stand on one leg and see how long you can maintain your balance. Make it more difficult by standing on your toes, or by doing ten small knee movements. You can ideally do this when you brush your teeth.
First, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Now take a big step forward with one foot. Your other foot remains standing. Now move down until your back knee touches the ground. In the meantime, keep looking forward. Go as deep as your upper body can handle. Then come back up and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement and do it on the other side as well. You can also add weights to make it extra heavy.
Find a score to stand against. Put your left foot first on the platform. Now push your right foot with your heel, so that your feet are next to each other again. Get down with your left foot and then with your right foot. Repeat these exercises ten times on each side. To make it heavier, you can use hand weights or provide higher surfaces.
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