Balance Training: The Key to Decreasing Falls and Injury As You Age

January 27, 2023

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If you’ve ever experienced a fall, you know it can be a very traumatic experience and lead to serious injuries. A serious fall can lead to physical limitation, fear, and decreased quality of life. According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in four adults (28%) 65 years or older report falling each year.

A fall can occur for a variety of different reasons, but they most commonly occur due to a lack of lower body strength, decreased reaction time, and impaired balance strategies. To improve your balance it is important to understand how the balance system of your body works.

Your balance system is comprised of 3 different parts:

  • Somatosensory: This is what you feel with your feet when standing and walking. Your skin, muscles, and joints have special sensors that give your brain information on its position in space. Have you ever noticed that it is a lot harder to walk on sand vs. on concrete? This is because it is harder for your feet to provide accurate feedback to your brain when on an unstable surface vs. when on a stable one.
  • Vision: This is what you see. Your eyes constantly provide feedback to your brain on what you see in relation to what is around you. Have you ever closed your eyes while taking a shower and noticed it is a lot harder to maintain your balance? This is because you are unable to use your vision to maintain stability.
  • Vestibular: The vestibular system is located in your inner ear. This system senses your movement, provides the information to your brain, and attempts to maintain equilibrium. Have you ever been on an amusement park ride that spins around in circles and still feel dizzy when you get off? This is because your vestibular system is hard at work trying to maintain equilibrium, even after you are not spinning around anymore.

Start your balance training today!

So what happens when one of these systems of balance is impaired? The other systems must compensate. Most of the time your brain will do this subconsciously. However, if you have an impairment of multiple systems of balance, this is when you will start to notice frequent near falls or more difficulty maintaining your balance. The good news is that you can strengthen your balance systems and prevent this decline!

If you are noticing your balance starting to decline as you are getting older, take action now! Our team of experienced physical therapists will create an individualized balance and strength training program to improve your balance so you can maintain an active and healthy lifestyle while aging. Contact us now to get started on your journey to better health and pain-free living.