Balance training is something a lot of people overlook while they’re at the gym. It is a skill we take for granted until we realize that we’ve lost it. It isn’t until then that we actually appreciate how important balance is to activities of daily living.
As we get older, our balance diminishes. It’s not just you, it’s everybody. That’s just the way the body works. Balance can be viewed through the lens of – use it or lose it. Generally, as we get older, our need to work on balance activities becomes increasingly important.
As children, adolescents, and even young adults, we are training our balance fairly regularly because generally speaking, people are more active when they’re younger. Climbing trees, running through sand, swinging and playing sports are activities we perform early in our lives and generally stop doing them as we get older. From my experience, it seems to be the golden age of 25 years when humans start becoming less active. At that age, people are finishing school, working full time, holding a relationship, having children, owning a home and while doing all of that, usually they stop being active.
It’s at this point we begin to see a decline in a person’s balance. Tasks become just a bit trickier than what they once were. As we age, our balance continues to decline in a linear fashion.
Getting into older age (over 65 years), our ability to remain living on our own without assistance is partially determined by how well we can or cannot navigate our surroundings. If a person is at risk of injury while living in their home because they have less than acceptable balance, that person may have to live in an assisted living facility far sooner than an individual with markedly better balance.
Young people often ask about the importance of balance training. Think of it as an investment in your future. Investing the time to improve your balance when you’re younger, will yield a return on that investment as you age.
Balance Exercise Recommendations
The take-home point here is to make sure you work on your balance because it doesn’t just hang around forever for when you do need it. Use it now and use it often.
About the Author: Eric Noyes BHSc (Kin), CSEP-CPT
Eric is Kinesiology Graduate from The University of Ontario and holds his Training Certification with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. He has been training general population and sport specific clients at Body Fit since 2013 and is currently the Lead Trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice and consultation.