While Balance or Fall Prevention is common terms when it comes to senior training, the idea that all of these exercises are geared to replicate real-life situations isn’t always right. In many programs with fall prevention exercises, seniors rarely if ever move from a static position. While doing static balance exercises are good, the issue with just doing these exercises is that they don’t really imitate how you use balance in real-life. Balance in real life is accompanied with moving from left to right, front to back, stopping and starting, while continuing to stay standing. So how do we practice balance to replicate common situations? Well here are 3 ways to do so.
Do Weight Transfers – weight transfers are movements where you balance by switching your base of support from one leg to the other leg. An excellent example of this is to take a big step with one leg in any direction, and as soon as that foot hits the ground try to stand on 1 foot.
Add Obstacles (to step over) – Since obstacles are a part of life, it is good to simulate dealing with them. Set up mini obstacle courses where you have to navigate over and around objects while keeping your balance. If you need an additional challenge to practice balance, add weight transfers where you have to get your balance as soon as you step over an obstacle.
Add Power- one component that we all lose as we get older is our reaction time. Power allows you to recover and gain balance to stick your foot out quickly before falling. Doing exercise like push back lunges, where once your foot hits the ground you move quickly back to your starting position. Try doing these lunges 12x on each leg.
While static balance is great, dynamic exercises truly replicate how we move and practice balance in real life. The more we are good at all types of balances, falls will be in our past.