Is Your Balance the Problem?
4 Simple Tests to Find Out
Balance means different things to different people.
For a 5-year old, balance means learning to ride a bike without training wheels.
For an adult, balance means successfully catching yourself, as you’re carrying an armload of groceries, after tripping over the bike that the 5-year old left laying in the driveway.
For an older adult, balance can be as simple as staying upright as you walk or regaining your footing without falling if you stumble.
Good balance is extremely important for an older person in maintaining their independence, a common fear expressed by our elderly patients.
Falling and breaking a bone, especially in the hip, knee, foot, or ankle, often leads to the loss of independence and in some cases, even death.
Fortunately, early attention to the problem can help you maintain good balance throughout your life.
Balance Can Be Complex
For most people, balance begins slowly diminishing starting in their 40’s. Every person of middle-age should be adding balance training to their exercise routine.
Balance training is equally important as cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.
In fact, cardio, strength, and flexibility training all play a role in maintaining, even increasing, your ability to react to challenges to your balance.
Balance can be complex and is affected by any number of factors …
Medications, inner ear problems, vision problems, and blood pressure are just a few examples of factors that adversely affect your balance.
Physical therapy focuses on the roles your muscles, bones, joints, and nerves play in creating good balance.
Below are 4 simple tests you can do at home to evaluate your balance.
If you experience any trouble while performing these tests, please visit your physical therapist for a more comprehensive evaluation and see your doctor for a full check up.
Part 1 - 1-Leg Standing Balance Test
This is pretty self explanatory. Stand on 1 leg without holding onto anything. Normal balance is one minute, less than 30 seconds will need some work.
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