Keeping Your Balance

For the young and healthy, maintaining balance takes no effort at all. As we get older, however, balance becomes more elusive. With age, our bodies change and our balance can be thrown off. Physical changes, health conditions, and even some medications can affect balance. But it’s never too late to take steps to improve your balance.

Just a few tips to consider…

  • Talk with your doctor. Discuss fall prevention BEFORE you’ve taken a tumble. If you’ve had a fall or experienced dizziness or unsteadiness, make sure to discuss it with your physician.

  • Wear the right shoes. As we get older, it becomes more important to think about how sturdy shoes are rather than how they look. Slip-on shoes can be much more likely to contribute to a fall than shoes with covered heels and a firm sole.

  • Review your medications. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy after taking a medication or combination of medications. Make sure to mention any over-the-counter medications you are taking. Some can affect balance.

  • Be aware of your environment. Be on the lookout for hazards that could cause a fall. Use railings when walking on stairs both indoors and outdoors. Remove potential dangers in your home, like loose rugs and electrical cords.

  • Have your vision and hearing checked. Not being able to see clearly or even slight changes in hearing can negatively impact balance.

  • Get up slowly.  If you’ve been sitting or lying down, do not be in a rush to rise. Getting up too quickly can cause issues, like a sudden drop in blood pressure, and make you feel unsteady or dizzy.

  • Try some balance exercises. Your doctor will know which ones are best for you. He or she may even suggest you try a gentle form of martial arts or yoga that involves slow, flowing movements. Always speak with your doctor before trying a new activity or form of exercise.

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