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The Importance of Good Balance After 50

5 min read

By Eric Leckie, PT

Balance is one of those bodily functions that most people take for granted until they no longer have it. It’s something we learn from a young age, but as we get older, our muscles and joints get more stiff which inevitably affects our balance. There are many dangers that can arise from not having good balance. The main danger is falling which can start a cascade of events that no one wants to deal with.

The good news is just as we can strengthen our muscles, there are exercises we can do to improve balance as well. For people over the age of 50, maintaining and improve balance should be a priority so that it doesn’t become an issue into your senior years. To start, seek the help of a physiotherapist or personal trainer to help incorporate balance exercises into your exercise routine. This will ensure you’re covering all your bases when it comes to looking after your health and wellbeing.

Here’s a deeper look into the 10 reasons why it is important to maintain balance after the age of 50…

Prevent Falls

Our first reason for maintaining balance might seem like a pretty obvious one, but it’s the best reason out there! Preventing falls becomes incredibly important after the age of 50. There are many factors that go into maintaining good balance, the two main ones are the inner ear systems (vestibular system) and vision and body awareness (proprioception).

Book an appointment with your doctor to make sure that all three of these systems are operating properly to help decrease any chances of falling in the future.

Avoid the Nursing Home

I think it’s fair to say that not any people enjoy the thought of ending up in the nursing home. One of the best ways to maintain independence with age is by making sure you are self sufficient, which means improving balance and preventing falls. Being strong enough to walk independently means no need for a walking frame or can — all of which slowly lead to needing more assistance with age.

Avoid Breaking a Bone

When someone has a fall they’re likely to break a bone, especially if they’re over the age of 50. As we age, breaking a bone becomes a big deal because our bodies cannot heal themselves like they could when we were younger. Not only does healing take longer, but it’s not as effective.

Breaking a bone can lead to a trip to the hospital, further complications, and immobility due to the need to be in a cast or brace until the bone heals.

Continue Doing Activities You Love

Are you someone who lives a very active lifestyle full of hobbies and activities? This could be anything like walking with friends, biking, playing golf, skiing, or swimming. These are all great things to enjoy, but they also require good balance! If you fall and hurt yourself, depending on how serious the fall was, you’ll likely have to stop doing the these activities to some degree. A serious enough fall could also create fear and a loss of confidence making it harder to enjoy the activities you once loved.

Maintain Body Confidence

You are only given one body in this lifetime, so it’s important to take care of it! Taking a nasty fall can do a lot to a person’s confidence in themself and their ability to get around. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean your body can’t still support you. The trick is, you’ll have to exercise and stay active in order to maintain it.

If you do not work on improving your balance, you leave yourself at a big risk of falling and inevitably losing confidence in your body’s ability to prevent yourself from falling.

Stay Active

In order to age successfully and maintain your quality of life, you must stay active. By staying active you are continuing to strengthen your bones, maintain the strength in your muscles and ensure your heart and lungs are strong and healthy.

Maintain your balance and start practising balance exercises so that you can stay active for many years to come.

Decrease Chances of Using Assisted Walking Devices

Typically, when someone loses their balance and has a fall, they will require the assistance of a walking aide to help keep their balance moving forward.

Ward off having to use one of these devices by seeking out the help of a physiotherapist or personal trainer to help improve your balance.

Improve Quality of Life

Nothing improves your quality of life quite like being strong, functional and healthy. Through maintaining balance you’ll be able to continue doing all the things you value most like playing with your grandkids, exercising with friends, gardening, or traveling.

Having the physical ability to continue doing all of these activities you cherish helps to maintain and improve your quality of life.

Stay out of the Hospital

Similar to some of the other reasons on this list like falling and breaking a bone, maintaining good balance will ensure you stay out of the hospital! Another added bonus is avoiding expensive medical bills. When someone’s balance decreases, they’re more likely to fall and wind up with an injury that may land them in the hospital, even if it is just to get checked out.

In extreme cases, it could lead to a head injury or a broken bone.

Travel with Confidence

Who doesn’t love to travel, especially during retirement? Travel is a luxury that does require some degree of good health. No one wants to fall ill or hurt themselves while in a strange country or even when they’re in another city, far away from home. One of the biggest concerns amongst seniors when traveling is falling ill or falling and needing health insurance in the case of an emergency.

Although you can’t prevent every medical emergency, you can do your best to prevent falling during your travels by practising your balance beforehand.

DPT, Doctor of Physiotherapy

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.



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