Hi my friends at MVCC,                                                                                                                           

     For those of you that are new; this weekly fitness article is where I share fitness tips and experiences meant to promote your personal fitness program.  I hope you enjoy it and find it informative and encouraging.

     This week I would like to talk about what I think are the important aspects of balance exercising.   And why balance exercising is so important.  The more we understand about balance the better. 

     Every year, one in three adults 65 or older falls at least once.  And over the last decade deaths from falls have risen sharply for this age group.  Balance problems can reduce your independence in daily life activities, and lead to falls and a fear of falling.  The good news is that exercise can significantly improve your balance and reduce your risk for falls.

     Balance can be described as the ability to distribute your weight in a way that enables you to hold a steady position or move at will without falling (Static balancing).  Dynamic balance allows you to anticipate and react to changes as you move. Both types of balance work to keep your center of gravity; the point at which body weight is evenly distributed.

     Your balance is a system that work together.  Simply put, your balance system involve three main parts:  1) Your sensory systems {vision, inner ear, and sense of touch in your skin}, 2) your brain’s ability to process this information, 3) your muscles and joints.

     Sensory systems - Vestibular system.  Central to the sense of balance is the vestibular system of the inner ear.  It sends signals to the brain describing the position of your head.

     Proprioceptors.  These position-sensing nerves are responsible for proprioception, the ability to perceive where your body is in space.  Proprioception helps you stay balanced and move through your environment without stumbling or bumping into things. 

     Fear of Falling (psychological). Worrying a lot about taking a fall leads some people to act more cautious as they go throughout the day.  Fear of falling chips away zest in life, self-confidence, and well-being. 

     What helps ease fear of falling?  Taking a two prong approach with both physical and psychological.  Keep up with your weekly amount of cardio, strength & flexibility training and add Tai Chi.  Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise that involves moving gently through a series of poses and focusing on breath and the present moment. Studies have shown that this method of combining physical and psychological scored lower on the fear of falling and higher on mobility and improved quality of life.

     The balance exercises in our SAIL class, see below video, will make you steadier, more confident and less likely to fall.  SAIL designed progressive challenges, starting with a workout of safe, easy exercises that shouldn’t be too hard for our older clientele.  

     So, remember good balance helps prevent disabling falls and builds confidence. 

Stay blessed,

Loy Vincent

B.S. Physical Education      

MVCC Group Fitness Instructor                                                                                                                                                                        

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