How Common Are Falls?
Having good balance can literally save your life. I don't want to scare you but according to the World Health Organisation, each year, 646 000 people die from falls globally of which 80 % are in low and middle-income countries.
Adults greater than 65 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
37.3 million falls occur each year that are severe enough to require medical attention.
I could go on but these are pretty sobering statistics. In other words, falls are far too common but on the plus side, they can be prevented and balance can always be improved, so let's look at ways to achieve this.
Why Do We Need To Maintain Our Ability To Balance?
Around the age of 6, walking around the top of my backyard perimeter fence was one of my favourite pastimes. A lap & cap fence provided me with a 12 cm wide platform perfect for 6-year old feet. I didn't know it at the time but I was challenging my balance and proprioception - my body's ability to know where I was in space. The view was amazing and fear of falling was almost non-existent. In general, the majority of children have good balance but around the age of 25, it starts to deteriorate and keeps declining as we age. Fear of falling also becomes an important factor too. Therefore, it becomes necessary to become proactive in maintaining our balance. The good news is, once you start actively challenging your balance regularly, with appropriate exercises, your body awareness will increase and your balance will improve quite rapidly.
How Can We Maintain Our Balance With Pilates?
One of the simplest and effective ways to improve your balance is to stand on one leg with the other foot next to your ankle and hold it for 30 secs and then repeat on the other side. Stand near a wall so you can use it for support if you start to wobble. This is a good way to self assess your balance. If it's very challenging, practice it twice a day to see improvement. If it is too easy, try increasing the length of time you hold the position for. Pilates exercises help to maintain balance by strengthening the core, glutes, back and feet muscles whilst improving flexibility and continually challenging the balance. JS Mind Body Pilates, my Online Pilates studio provides training in all of this and offers additional specific balancing challenges for all levels as well as foot strengthening exercises to ensure you are as stable as possible to prevent falls. If you haven't already signed up to my site, why not take the free 10 day trial now
(self-cancel at any time) and start future-proofing yourself against falls. Being strong, healthy flexible and stable really is a very empowering feeling!