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Why You Need To Balance Train To Combat Ageing

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Hand Balance
Hand Balance

Are you struggling trying to stand up off the floor?

Have you ever fallen over on the street?

Balance training can be an effective way to improve strength, stability, and mobility, which can in turn make standing up from the floor easier and more graceful.

There are many difficulties faced when trying to stand up from the floor, especially as we age.

Are you noticing?:

  • Fear of outdoor social gatherings like picnics in the park due to being unable to get up without awkwardness or assistance.

  • Physical struggles caring for and playing with Grandchildren.

  • Fear of falling and not being able to get up without assistance.

  • Feeling 'old' or lacking in confidence affecting self esteem.

  • Loosing the ability to perform other day to day tasks, like standing on one leg to wash the other foot in the shower, or putting on socks.

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Various physical limitations that can make these tasks challenging, including weak muscles, poor balance, weight gain, poor motor planning, limited joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

The benefits of balance training are enormous, both to improve the specific physical abilities needed to stand up from the floor, and for overall health and wellness, improved posture, reduced risk of falls, and increased confidence in movement.

Examples of balance exercises that can help improve the physical abilities needed to stand up from the floor, include single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walks, line walking, balance beam walking and balance board or disc exercises.

Single Leg Balance on a BOSU
Single Leg Balance on a BOSU

Once these exercises are mastered we progress them to increase strength and mobility over time, by increasing the duration of the exercise, incorporating more challenging variations, such as eyes closed, more unstable surfaces, throwing and catching a ball while balancing to add dynamic balance, adding perturbation exercises, (push and pull forces at shoulder and waist level), or adding in equipment such as resistance bands or weights.

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Correct form is essential when performing balance exercises to avoid injury and maximise results. This includes neutral posture in the spine and pelvis, not allowing the spine to overarch, loosing optimal abdominal support, gazing directly forward, not down at the floor and avoiding the pelvis dropping on the non weight bearing side.

The potential risks associated with balance training include loosing balance and falling, with risk of injury to joints, tendons or muscles or even fractures if bone density is low.

Minimise the risk of falls by beginning your balance exercises close to a wall or furniture within reach, to steady yourself and avoid falling.

Use a pilates or yoga mat to provide a softer surface in event of a fall, to minimise injury. Otherwise a carpet or rug, rather than hard surface like tiles, hard wood or concrete surface.

Create a clear space to practice, with no objects on the floor you could trip or fall on.

Begin with a Physio, trainer, family member or friend close by to support you, provide encouragement and confidence, before you practice alone.

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It is important to include a proper warm-up, such as a brisk walk to warm up your muscles and joints, preparing them for stress. Also a gentle pilates style warm up of a few exercises to move your spine and hips and switching on your deep core muscles, will be beneficial to optimise performance and minimise injury.

After each exercise session a cool-down series of lower body and spine stretches are beneficial to recenter, avoid injury and assist muscle recovery.

Cool Down Side Stretch Example
Cool Down Side Stretch Example

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My 65 year old client Jane was kindly sent to classes with me by her partner, who was concerned about her deteriorating balance, strength and stability.

Jane probably wouldn't have attended if it hadn't been for his thoughtfulness and realisation his partner needed help before having a serious fall and injury.

A year later and Jane has conscientiously performed her exercises, attending the studio, in person once a week for support and progressions, and performing her home program on our Physiapp.

Jane has made remarkable progress, feeling much stronger and more confident. She excitably notes that being able to stand on one leg in the shower to wash her other foot and balance on one leg to put her socks on, have been a couple of the amazing benefits to the program. Jane's partner and children have seen great changes in Jane's confidence both at home and getting out socialising.

As always, please consult with a healthcare professional, general practitioner or Physiotherapist before starting a new exercise program, so you can be advised on the best and safest start point for you.

If you would like support from others embarking on a training program please join our community, clicking the link below:

Begin today and experience the benefits of balance training for standing up from the floor with ease and grace!

If you have no current injuries or conditions have a go at some of the balance training exercises in the video below:

Let me know how did you go? 👋

How is your balance?

Which exercise did you find most challenging?

Which was your favourite exercise and why?

Which was your least favourite exercise and why?

Any questions? 🙋‍♀️

Comment below 👇

Follow for more.

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In our next BLOG posts we will discuss some of the other reasons why you are struggling to get up off the floor and the solutions to feel more confident and youthful.

Emma Najman, NDIS & Oncology Rehab Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor and Yoga Therapist
Emma Najman, NDIS & Oncology Rehab Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor and Yoga Therapist

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