Balance training is one of the most effective ways to prevent falls. It helps improve balance, coordination, agility and flexibility. These are all important skills for daily living. However, many people do not realize that balance training does not only benefit them physically; it also improves their mental health as well! Many studies have shown that regular exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce stress levels and even increase happiness levels (1).
The Benefits of Balance Training Exercise
Improves balance and coordination. Improving your balance and coordination will allow you to walk further, climb stairs or even perform other activities that require fine motor control such as driving a car. Your ability to make small movements without falling may also improve when performing these types of tasks.
Improves agility and flexibility. Being able to move around with greater ease will allow you to take better care of yourself and avoid injuries. You’ll be less likely to injure yourself while doing things like gardening, cooking or even playing sports.
Increases muscle mass. By increasing your muscles’ size, they can then be used for other tasks such as lifting heavy objects or working out at the gym. This will enable you to carry more items or perform other physical labor that requires strength and endurance.
Reduces risk of falls. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in older adults. By performing these types of exercises on a regular basis, you will improve your balance and coordination which will help prevent falls in the future.
Improves mood. Many people feel happier when they’re physically active and it’s no different for seniors. In fact, several studies have found that exercise can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and even boredom (2).
How to Perform a Good Balance Exercises Routine at Home
One of the best types of balance exercises for seniors is Tai Chi. This Eastern martial art involves slow, deliberate movements that focus on increasing your concentration and mental clarity while improving flexibility and balance. It has been suggested that these types of activities can help prevent many of the problems associated with aging such as memory loss and osteoporosis (3). Some people even believe that it can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
A lot of popular sports such as golf and dancing are also great for improving your balance. Additionally, if you would like to try something a little more adventurous then rock climbing could be right up your alley! This involves scaling a sheer rockface while using only your hands, feet and various climbing gear. This is one of the best types of physical and mental exercise for anyone, but especially those that are getting on in years.
Remember that any sort of exercise is better than none at all and you should try to participate in these activities on a regular basis.
Sources & references used in this article:
Balance training in men and women: Effect on knee extensors and flexors by HC Heitkamp, T Horstmann, F Mayer… – Isokinetics and …, 2001 – content.iospress.com
Sensorimotor training: A “global” approach for balance training by P Page – Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 2006 – Elsevier
The effects of balance training and high-intensity resistance training on persons with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease by MA Hirsch, T Toole, CG Maitland, RA Rider – Archives of physical medicine …, 2003 – Elsevier