Are you noticing your balance more than you used to? Do you sometimes hesitate when you’re walking or worry about tripping and falling? Do you feel nervous or unsteady coming down the stairs?
Even if you are not someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, this is a time of year when we tend to take stock, make plans and look ahead to the New Year.
In doing so, whether intentionally or not, we set our priorities by how we schedule our activities and plan our time.
The new year is a great time to take a second to notice our balance. Try asking yourself the following questions:
Often, when things change gradually, we get used to them without realising what is happening. But if you take a minute to consider whether you notice your balance more than you used to, you might be surprised how much things have changed.
Perhaps you weren’t so worried about uneven pavements or coming down the stairs without a handrail. Maybe you just don’t feel as confident or steady on your feet as you did a few years ago.
So, if you have realised that balance problems have crept up on you, then keep reading. I am going to make the case for why you should put balance at the top of your priority list for the new year.
Put simply, good balance is essential to everything else you want to do.
Think about your plans for the new year. Are you taking any trips? Going to see family or friends? Have you booked any holidays or city breaks? Maybe even a cruise?
What about day-to-day activities? These may include going for walks with friends, volunteering, tending to your garden, looking after grandchildren, going across town to shop or go to an exhibition.
You need to have good balance to do all these things.
For example, if you are feeling unsteady on your feet, you may not want to take the train across town to meet a friend (the stairs at the train station might be tricky).
If you are worried about falling, you might not enjoy those walks with your friends so much.
If you are anxious on bumpy ground (e.g., cobblestones and uneven pavements), that trip to Paris or Dubrovnik might become much less enjoyable. You could spend the weekend looking at your feet, not at all the beautiful sights around you.
If you don’t feel confident when you are out and about, you might find it harder to look after your grandchildren or take them out for the afternoon.
And, of course, if you were to fall and break a wrist or a hip, then many of your plans will be on hold for some time.
Maintaining your balance is essential for you to do, and enjoy, so many of those other things you are planning for the next year (and beyond).
I want you to have great balance, to feel confident on your feet and to feel confident every day going out into the world and doing all the things that you want and need to do.
And I want you to avoid trips, falls and broken bones.
The best thing you can do is to start doing regular balance training exercises in small bouts.
Doing a class once a week can be great. Having an instructor to guide you is very helpful, and people often push themselves a bit more in a class setting.
However, if you want to improve your balance, you need to be doing something most days of the week. It doesn’t need to be a lot. Just a few minutes a day (at home) is all it takes. You don’t even need any equipment.
Here’s a simple balance exercise that you can start with right now:
For more exercises, check out our free, four-week Balance Boost video series.
Remember that balance is more than the duration for which you can stand on one leg. Balance equals confidence.
Better balance means you feel more confident going to new places, walking on uneven ground, talking to your companions and enjoying the scenery around you.
More confident walking down flights of stairs or being out and about with grandchildren.
More confident travelling, going abroad and visiting foreign cities, perhaps going to historic houses or gardens.
And that’s why, if you are having trouble with your balance, you need to make it a priority this new year.
What is your #1 resolution for 2021? Do you think balance should be your top priority? What can you begin doing today to improve your balance? Please share with our community!
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