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4 Ways for Seniors to Improve Balance
For many seniors, balance difficulties are at best an annoyance, and at worst a real hazard. As you age, you become more susceptible to conditions that affect your balance. Microscopic bones inside your ear can become dislodged over time, resulting in dizziness or vertigo — and certain medications or an improper diet can exacerbate these symptoms. But, with a few simple steps and a positive attitude, you can get your balance back and start feeling fitter, healthier and happier.
Watch what you eat
According to SeniorHealth, an information resource run by the National Institutes of Health, reducing the amount of salt in your diet can help reduce the symptoms of certain balance disorders. Try to gradually cut down your salt-intake, and always opt for a low-sodium product. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol as they can raise your blood pressure and heighten the risk of vertigo.
Light up your home
It might sound obvious, but if you start to suffer from balance problems, doctors recommend that you increase the amount of lighting at home. More light makes it easier to adjust your balance visually, and it can help reduce feelings of dizziness and disorientation. Consider investing in a light bath which synthesizes natural daylight. These have also been shown to contribute to general wellness.
Choose the right exercises
Careful, well-planned exercise is the best way to improve your balance, while giving a boost to overall fitness and health at the same time. As you become more fit, it will be much easier to correct your balance. Balancing exercises for the elderly should never be too vigorous, as you don’t want to run the risk of falling. Good balancing exercise should focus on improving your core body strength. Yoga, pilates and t’ai chi are all great ways to work on your coordination, and will improve your general mobility. Short, gentle walking exercises are also good, but make sure you avoid any awkward or slippery surfaces.
Stick to your routine and stay positive
As with all exercise, the key to improving your balance as a senior is sticking to your exercise program. If you need some inspiration for your routine, try Bob Klein’s “T’ai-Chi Exercises for Seniors” DVD, but always remember that it takes time for benefits to show. Start off with a short exercise routine until you improve your balance — and your confidence. With a little dedication and some positive thinking, these simple steps will have you well on your way to improving your balance, coordination and general well-being.