Improved Balance Through Core Stability
Each year, one in three adults over the age of 65, and 50 percent of seniors over the age of 80, experiences a fall. These falls often result from the inevitable musculoskeletal system changes that result from age. Changes in posture, a decrease in walking stride and loss of balance control and stability are some of the well-documented consequences of aging.
Fortunately, age-related changes to the body can be slowed through postural and core stability exercises. Core stability is the strengthening of the abdominal muscles and other muscles that help with posture. In essence, balance is your ability to maintain your center of gravity (usually around your belly button) within your base of support (over your feet). If you have a strong core, or base, then your extremities will have a strong base to move on.
Tests have shown that core stability training is beneficial in improving balance because it strengthens the abdominal and postural muscles.
Here are some good exercises for strengthening your core muscles:
- Curl ups or crunches – While lying on your back with your arms at your sides, tilt your pelvis to flatten your back. Raise your head and shoulders from the floor. Use your arms to support your buttock if necessary.
- Pelvic tilts – Lie on the floor and flatten your back by tightening the stomach muscles and buttock.
- Lower Trunk Rotation – Lie on the floor and bring both your knees into your chest. Rotate from side to side, keeping your knees together and your feet off the floor.
- Heel Walk (Hook Lying) – While lying on the floor, tighten your stomach and slowly walk your feet forward in short steps until your legs are nearly straight, or until your back begins to arch.
Remember, an active lifestyle and a strong core can keep you on your feet and free from falls!
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