Did you know that your balance starts to deteriorate around age 50? We learned this and lots of other important information about balance recently when we interviewed Dr. Katharine Forth, CEO of Zibrio The Balance Company.
In our interview, Dr. Forth told us that balance is a “holistic representation of your health because balance uses your mental capacity, it uses your neural systems, your muscular system, your sensory system.” She went on to say that diet, sleep and even personality also affect balance.
How can you tell if your balance is healthy? You can pre-order a Zibrio SmartScale (in development now, delivery expected in September 2019) but until then, Performance Physical Therapy + Fitness recommends these four ways to test your own balance:
- Stand on one leg without holding onto anything. Goal: 30 seconds or more
- Stand next to a wall, arm raised to shoulder height. Reach forward along the wall as far as you can without falling, and note the distance between the starting position and the finish. Goal: 6 inches or more
- From a sitting position, get up, walk 10 feet, turn around and sit back down. Goal: 14 seconds or less
- From a sitting position, stand up and sit down five complete times as quickly as possible. Goal: less than 13 seconds.
Some of the exercises that are NOT particularly helpful for balance might surprise you. According to Dr. Forth, running, water aerobics and yoga do not enhance balance. Tai Chi, on the other hand, has clinical evidence that it improves balance. Other exercises that are recommended include lunges, squats, and simply standing up from a chair without using your arms as recommended by the CDC.
Even people who are competitive athletes need to pay special attention to their balance. If you haven’t changed your workout in a while, or if working out is new to you, check with a personal trainer or physical therapist to get recommendations for the right balance exercises for you.
Click here to hear our whole interview with Dr. Forth.