How Does Balance Impact Senior Health?

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How well a person can balance may be a health indicator.

Falls can cause injury at any age.

When younger, damage is often minor.

It includes bruises, scrapes, and a little embarrassment.

For seniors, losing balance can lead to broken bones and dangerous head injuries.

According to a recent The New York Times article titled “Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?,”  balancing ability can impact the length and quality of life for adults as early as age 40.

Better balance can lead to longer life.
Improving balance can lead to better health in aging.

A 2022 study conducted by Brazilian researchers focused on giving 1,700 older adults the Ten Second Balance Test.

This test was devised by a Stanford University professor who conducts research at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System and who also authored the aforementioned study.

What is the Ten Second Balance Test?

Essentially, the subject is given three attempts to ten-second stand on one leg.

What were the results?

In the study, 20 percent of these older adults could not balance on one leg for ten or more seconds.

Additionally, the trouble balancing was connected to a twofold higher risk of dying from any cause within ten years.


What does this mean?

Incorporating balance training into your life if you are over age 50 is key to healthy aging.

It is important even if you can currently pass the ten second test.

Although balance is impacted by vision impairment and slower nerve functioning, exercise can help improve this ability.

Strength training is particularly helpful in giving muscles the mass and capacity to hold your weight.

Rather than simply worrying or resigning yourself to the loss of balance, you can take brisk walks, practice balancing with one eye closed, and work on standing up from a seated position on the floor.

All of these skills have been associated with living longer.

Before beginning an exercise regimen for strengthening abdomen, feet, legs, and thighs, discuss your training with your doctor.

Simply moving and working on balance two to three times each week can improve your health and reduce your risk of injury.

I would say the potential pay-off is worth putting in a little effort each day.

Reference: The New York Times (Aug. 12, 2022) “Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?”

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