As people age, they begin to hear more and more about being at risk for falls and how they may lose some balance and stability. They may begin to hear it from health professionals first and then perhaps friends or family. The good news? There is a whole lot you can do to protect yourself, and it can be fun as well as functional. In addition to the numerous classes and resources that we have at our Aquatic & Fitness Center, we have a few classes that stand out as most helpful for balance and stability improvement.
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance
This class is a sure thing to get your balance and stability back on track. It is a research-based balance training regimen designed for older adults at risk of falling and people with balance disorders. The class aids in improving lower limb muscular strength, sensory integration, limits of stability, and global cognitive function. It has been credited for reducing incidence of falls by 55% in community-dwelling older adults and by 67% in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Whether you actually have moves or not, dance is a fun way to help with balance and stability. As you learn new moves, your body is forced to adapt and become more coordinated, which in turn leads to better balance and stability through increased neuromuscular control and function! Research has shown those who dance have better muscle efficiency, which supports the idea that this training can influence the control you have over everyday movements.
Tai chi has many physical benefits. The slow, extended weight shifting helps improve bone density and joint stability. The movements also stretch and strengthen muscles. Like yoga, tai chi has a meditative quality that can trigger the relaxation response. A number of studies have shown that tai chi improves balance. Tai chi combines the physical components needed to stay upright—leg strength, flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes. You’re practicing your balance and teaching your body to be more sensitive and have greater strength. As a result, you’ll be able to maintain your balance if you encounter uneven pavement or if you are walking through the shopping mall.
For more information on the classes and programs offered to Panorama residents, contact a Retirement Advisor at (360)456-0111.