Just as a gyroscope maintains equilibrium through motion, we also maintain our balance through motion. However, as we age, our equilibrium changes, so our risk of falling increases. Muscle mass can decrease, causing a loss of strength, and joints can become stiff, causing a lack of mobility and flexibility, thus reducing range of motion.
Slipping into a sedentary lifestyle can result in overall atrophy of the body and mind, thereby increasing the risk of falling.
Reasonable physical activity, appropriate to our fitness level, can help us achieve optimal physical and mental health benefits: improved breathing, circulation, posture, coordination and balance.
From tennis to t’ai chi, yoga to zumba, walking, hiking, bicycling, swimming, or dancing, choosing a variety of movement activities that we enjoy, and starting gradually, will keep us interested and engaged. Joining a class or inviting someone to join us can help us stay on track with our commitment to taking good care of ourselves. Balance through motion is a pleasant and effective way of relaxing, relieving stress, developing mental acuity, and of building and maintaining robust health, vitality and quality of life.
- Katherine Fleming, M.A.
*San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force’s brochure, You CAN Prevent Falls! A Guide to Preventing Falls