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Balance: causes, effects, prevention and balance training

Posted By Marilynh / October 9, 2018 / 0 Comments

If you are challenged by balance issues, find out how you can make 2019
the year of finding the balance,
and hugely improve both your health as well as your balance

 

seniors and balance

 

The dictionary defines balance as: Physical Equilibrium
– an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something
to remain upright and steady.

So when we feel our balance deteriorating… What does that mean?

 

Maintaining ones balance depends on the following 3 processes happening:

 

  • Your sensory system accurately portraying information on your body’s position in its environment  –  Hearing, vision and touch (such as our feet on the floor) 
  • Your brain processing that information–  Neurons, sensory receptors in the brain and the decision making centres. 
  • Your muscles and joints coordinating movement based on the information your brain gives them–  Being able to contract and relax to move how you want to. 

These 3 factors are usually an automatic process, and so when we feel our balance worsening, we need to explore which of these steps are not working how they should. 

Most of the time, poor balance is a combination of a few factors, each adding a little bit to our instability. It is important to explore each of these factors and see which are lacking. Then we can anticipate and correct if we know what to look out for. 

 

Scale stones

 

So what are some of the things to be aware of that worsen balance?

 

  • Chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • Poly pharmacy (taking 4 or more medications) 
  • Hearing Problems (hearing loss, infection, vertigo). 
  • Vision Problems (poor sight, macular degeneration, cataracts) 
  • Low Blood Pressure or Low Blood Sugar 
  • Fatigue 
  • Nerve problems 
  • Muscle Weakness

 

If our brain is not receiving good signals from our eyes, ears and skin, it will affect the information our brain has to work with. So it is important to get glasses and/or hearing aids if eye and ear function has deteriorated  

If we have a disease that affects the brain this may compromise motor function and movement, and so we will need to make sure our sensory input and muscle output are stronger to compensate. 

If our muscles and joints are unable to carry out the messages they receive, it will be beneficial to stretch and strengthen our muscles  to ensure they can adequately respond to the information they are receiving. 

 

walking tightrope

 

Practice makes Perfect

If you are challenging your muscles in a controlled environment and encouraging them to be aware and responsive to the brain’s messages, your body will respond quickly and efficiently to keep you upright and stable. As a result you have better control, stability and essentially balance.   

Our challenge for you this month is to find time to exercise.  Many of us do not prioritise exercise, and we suffer as a result.  The benefit of exercise on our health and balance is very well known; let’s make 2019 a year of finding the balance – not only physically!  

 

 

We would love to hear from you:

Silver Fit is an exercise program specifically for older adults.

Our aim is to improve independence, stability, mobility and of course – balance.

Call us today to find your closest branch!

 

Contact person: Zothile

Contact number: 011 481 4964

Email: bookings@silverfit.co.za

Click here to read the Silver Fit listing on You’ve Earned It

 

Silver Fit

 

Relevant articles:

 

Joint pain and stiffness – what to do to correct and prevent this

What’s all the fuss with “Active Ageing”?

Silver Fit

 

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