The #1 Balance Training Workout You Need as You Age
Aging can be a lot of work when it comes to taking care of yourself. It's always important to eat well, keep your mind busy, and exercise. But when we're talking about performing the right kind of exercise, selecting activities that will help you maintain your balance is a must so you can lower your risk of falling and getting injured. No need to stress over what you should incorporate into your regimen, because we're here to share the #1 balance training workout you need as you age, according to an expert.
Keep reading to learn more, and next, don't miss 7 Strength Exercises for Better Balance as You Age.
Preserving your balance as you age is critical to avoid falls and injuries.
Keeping up with your balance as you get older may not seem to be all that important, but you may be surprised to learn that approximately 36 million older adults fall every year, and they result in over 32,000 mortalities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Every year, around 3 million elderly individuals end up in the emergency room resulting from a fall, and a minimum of 300,000 older adults end up in the hospital because of hip fractures.
It should be no surprise that the CDC recommends that adults 65 years of age and older include balance and leg-strengthening exercises in their regular workout regimen. (Think of activities like walking backward, balancing on one leg, or utilizing a balancing board.) The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggests performing balance training and moderately intense muscle-strengthening exercises a minimum of three days each week for an hour and a half. Older individuals should also walk at a moderate intensity for one hour a week.
The best balance training workout is one with a BOSU ball.
As far as what kind of exercise you should add at the gym to work on your balance, Eat This, Not That! received expert advice from Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our Medical Expert Board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who has helped develop the Body Program at Ro. Dr. Bohl tells us, "I recommend people incorporate balance (with a BOSU ball and/or on one leg) into the workouts they're already doing."
Consider doing certain exercises while only standing on one foot rather than two. For instance, perform bicep curls while balancing on one leg.
Dr. Bohl also suggests training with a BOSU ball. If you're unfamiliar with this piece of workout equipment, it appears like half an exercise ball with one flat surface. It's a great investment to have at home so you can use it whenever it's most convenient for you. A BOSU ball can make your workout truly exceptional if your goal is to boost your balance.
According to ACE Fitness, exercising with a BOSU aids in training your dynamic and static balance, in addition to your kinesthetic awareness and motor skills. You'll build up your balance and your core strength while working out with the BOSU. ACE Fitness recommends exercises like shin balances (balancing on your shins on the dome), static lunges (with your front foot on the BOSU dome and the other foot behind you, planted on the ground), and walk-ups ("walking" on the BOSU dome).
Dr. Bohl points out, "It's best to talk to a trainer about the best way to use a BOSU ball, so you don't injure yourself. And, with any balance exercise, make sure you are staying within your comfort level and gradually working your way up—don't push yourself too hard or do anything that makes you feel too unsteady and could be dangerous."
Once you test it out, working out with a BOSU ball just may be your favorite new form of exercise!
Pilates and yoga are great workouts to train your balance, too.
There are some additional exercises you can do to improve your balance, including Pilates and yoga. Adding strength training exercises with an emphasis on the legs and core is an exceptional way to enhance your balance as well.
"What I like to recommend, though, is seamlessly incorporating balance into the exercises you're already doing at the gym. This is a great way to challenge yourself without needing to feel like you're adding a whole new routine into your life," Dr. Bohl shares. (Let's face it: The best kind of workout is one you will actually do!)
So, we'll be right back. Heading out to get a few BOSU balls so we can be right on task when it comes to balance.