Features Ed Blog: Improve Your Balance

Shutterstock / Egrigorovich © improve your balance

In this week’s Health pages we’re talking about using yoga to improve your balance.

A few years ago I had an accident that’s affected my balance ever since. It’s been something I’m always working on — and I’ve tried a number of things.

I did Pilates for a while, but the room was too small! At 6’4″, I could cheat at most of the stretching exercises by easily touching the ceiling or reaching the wall! I couldn’t really avoid it in that wee room.

My balance will never be what it was. I proved that to myself when I tried wakeboarding a couple of years ago. You sit in the water until the tow rope goes taut and pulls you to your feet. The trick then is turning sideways and leaning back into the force of the tug.

My friend caught the hang of it quickly. I repeatedly lost control, filling my nostrils with cold, salty water, and haven’t been back since!

The wobble board

When I switched to a standing desk at work, I bought a wobble board to stand on while working to help improve things. And it definitely did.

It’s amazing how many wee muscles are involved in staying upright! Those boards will exercise all of them. I was usually leaning on my desk, though, as I was typing. So again, a bit of a cheat, but something is better than nothing.

That’s all fallen away a bit since we’ve been working at home – and since our wee boy demands most of our energy!

The key to freedom

As we age, balance is key to independence, and it’s easily lost.

As it’s a collaborative effort between muscles, practise makes perfect. It’s another thing that suffers as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.

Use it or lost it, as they say, and the experts agree that the less you exercise your balancing skills, the more likely you are to have a fall.

It was literally the key to my freedom in the hospital. Before I left I had to pass a series of balance tests to prove I wasn’t at risk of falling — I’m not sure if I could pass them now!

I’ll definitely be following the advice in the column.

I’ve done yoga before, and I think it’s time to start it up again.

Catch up with more health advice from the “Friend”.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.