Your sense of balance later in life can be crucial – how to improve yours

A fall at a later stage in life can be scary, and can even cause some serious damage. A sense of balance is not something we’re all equipped with, so as you age, falls can be a real sense of anxiety.

However, there are lots of things you can do to prevent falling by improving your balance.

What is balance?

It’s not something people are born with, and it’s not something people learn in the same way as speech – not quite a sense or a skill, but an ability that people gain early and lose over time.

Put simply, balance is often defined as the ability to distribute your bodyweight over your base of support – a definition that muddles up movement and physical ability with what other people think of as innate.

What can people do to improve their balance

Easy: Standing on one leg, with hands resting on a work surface if feeling unsteady. See how long you can maintain your balance and progressively make it harder by going up on to your tiptoes or doing 10 small knee bends. One way is to do it brushing your teeth.

Medium: Begin from standing and take a big step forward, bending your front leg until your trailing knee just brushes the floor. Then push off your front leg and return to a standing position. Progress to walking lunges, where you move across the ground by lunging on alternate sides, and add hand weights in to build muscular strength.

Hard: Step ups on to a step or box. Put one foot on to a box and push through on that heel to step up so both feet end up together. To ensure you don’t use your trailing leg to help, keep toes off the ground on that foot. Progress by using a higher step or by taking your trailing leg up towards your chest.

Try 10 with your right leg and then 10 with your left, and add hand weights to build strength.

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.