Did you know that people start to lose their sense of balance when they’re in their 20s? Just like anything in life, you have to work at it to achieve it. By age 65, one in three people will fall doing normal activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Improving your sense of balance can decrease your risk.
In the book “Age Defying Fitness” by Marilyn Moffat and Carole Lewis, the authors define balance as “the ability of your body to maintain equilibrium when you stand, walk, or perform any other daily activity.”
Are you wondering how your balance is? Here is a test to see how you are balancing in relation to others in your age range.
- Have a chair in front of you in case you need to grab hold of it.
- Stand straight, wearing flat, closed shoes.
- Fold your arms across your chest.
- Raise one leg and start a stopwatch (or have someone count for you).
- Close your eyes.
- Remain on one leg, stopping the watch (or the count) when you uncross your arms, tilt sideways more than 45 degrees, move the leg you are standing on or touch the raised leg to the floor.
- Repeat the test with the other leg.
Here are the performance norms for various ages:
Is your balance fitness well above your true age? You can improve it! Here’s how:
- Practice simple balance exercises like standing on one leg and walking a straight line (with and without your eyes closed!).
- Keep your core, quads, gluts, and hamstrings strong.
- Strong legs and core equals good balance.
- Take classes like yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi, all of which include balancing and core strengthening.