Let’s dispel a fiction that a lot of people believe: balance is not something you either have or you don’t. Balance is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be improved with practice. Yes, you might not be as sure on your feet in your eighth or ninth decade (or beyond!) as you were in your third or fourth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve! Balance exercises are an essential component of maintaining your stability and independence, especially in later life.
Most simple balance exercises can be performed anywhere, any time. Classic examples including standing on one foot and walking from heel to toe; we also recommend side leg raises, where you slowly lift one leg out to the side, hold, and lower it again. Depending on your ability level, you can either decrease the difficulty—such as by placing your hand on a wall or sturdy chair—or increase it, say by closing your eyes or standing on pillow.
Additionally, exercises designed to strengthen the calves and ankles will also help you maintain your footing and reduce wobbliness. Seated resistance exercises are often a good choice for this, although you’ll need either a resistance band or at least a towel. Wrap the band or towel around your toes, then pull toward you while pushing forward with your feet.
We’ve barely scratched the surface here—the truth is there are dozens of great exercises you could try—or you take up tai chi or yoga, which can also provide substantial benefits to balance (as well as mental health). We do recommend that you stop in and visit us, though, if you have any concerns about your balance or before starting up your own exercise program. A full examination by our team of professionals can help us identify if you need any additional treatment procedures, as well as help us to provide good recommendations for exercises to try.
To make an appointment with the team at Family Foot and Ankle Center, please give us a call at 888-689-3317. We have six conveniently located Cincinnati-area offices to serve you best.