Improve Your Balance and Be Winter Ready

Here at elevate Health & Performance™, we focus on fitness and rehabilitation and always remain on the lookout for simple ways to be healthier. We keep balance on our radar all the time because some of us are unstable at every age.

With winter approaching, it’s a great time to think about practicing improving your balance.

None of us want to take a fall on a slippery surface and then need fitness and rehabilitation.

An article in the New York Times (click here) pointed us to a well-titled book, “Falling Is Not An Option.”

The book explains that balance comes from combining stability with an increasing downward force. Think of how stable you fell with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Or how you feel walking confidently over uneven terrain.

Many people think that our ability to balance diminishes as we age, but that doesn’t have to be true. You can maintain and improve your balance at every age.

Your body learns to balance better by practicing, not by thinking. As both Justin DePermentier, our lead DPT, and Chris Byiers, a lead coach note:

“You don’t learn to balance on a bike until the training wheels are off.”

Of course, we can help you use exercise to feel safe and secure at our fitness and rehabilitation studio. But you can also practice at home.

Many people suggest standing on one leg while you brush your teeth. That’s good, but our team prefers a slight modification.

The tweak makes a difference and is easy to do. When you begin balancing on one leg, don’t lock your knees in a vertical position. Instead, we suggest bending your knee slightly and leaning forward until you feel your gluteal muscles engage. This position activates more muscles, increasing downward force, which plants your foot more firmly. Your body learns more effectively by engaging more muscles.

Another simple exercise to improve your balance involves imaging that you’re about to sit on a stool. Plant your feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and move your butt down and back. Pretend that you’re hovering just above the edge of a counter-height stool. Then hold it until you begin to fatigue.

Finally, Justin has been taking courses at the Posture Restoration Institute (PRI). They use clinically proven movement techniques to help patients correct posture challenges. And they focus on improving balance as part of the curriculum. Our team sees excellent results using the PRI techniques.

As always, our fitness and rehabilitation team is ready to help you improve your health.  You can contact us here.

And don’t forget that your walking speed correlates to your general health. Learn more here.