When it comes to seniors and stability, balance training is usually associated with a solution to staying upright. Although it is something that I also prescribe as a personal trainer for seniors, it doesn’t come with a lot of frustration from the people that I work with, which is why I decided to give a little insight into why your balance doesn’t get better even if you started to try to improve it.
1.Instability leads to Stability- I find out that when it comes to balance training, people fall into two categories, those who do exercises that are too easy or too hard for them. In the first category, since many people are scared to fall, they pick exercises that never challenge them, which is why they don’t get better. In the second category, people choose exercises that are too hard, which often leads to frustration and also not getting better. If you are interested in improving, my advice would be to find a happy medium between the two categories. When you get more comfortable being a little unstable (but manageable), it will actually lead to more stability where you can move to the place of your happy medium.
2.Not consistent- I often find when your balance doesn’t get better, it is because you don’t practice enough. There is a lot of truth in the old saying, “practice makes perfect.” For the people I have worked with that have shown the biggest improvements, it has been those that have practiced between 4-6 days a week for at least 5 minutes each session.
3.Not patient- I like to relate improving your balance to losing weight because they are both processes that take longer to improve the worse you are. For example, for someone who is 100 lbs overweight, it would take them probably over a year to get to their ideal weight. For balance, if it took you years for your balance to be as bad as it is, so it will probably take you a while to improve also. One big reason your balance doesn’t get better is that you probably expect results pretty soon after you just started practicing. My advice is to practice your balance exercises for at least 2-3 months at a level that is adequate to your skill level before expecting dramatic results.
4.Commit to getting stronger – In the video that I showed with Laura practicing, what you don’t see is that I gave her strength exercises, so her balance improves. If you commit to doing strength exercises that improve your posture, leg strength, and core strength, in particular, you will see it correlate to better balance. One of the areas that you should strengthen for your lower body is your gluteus medius (butt) muscle. Try those “Jane Fonda” type exercises where you lie on your side and do leg raises 20X on each side.