A well-rounded fitness routine contains several elements, including aerobic fitness, strength training, core exercises, and flexibility and stretching. The fifth element is balance training.
Balance refers to the ability to stay upright and steady, whether you're standing, kneeling, sitting or squatting. Several sensory systems in your body contribute to good balance. Your vision, inner ear and joint receptors provide a sense of where your body is in space. The neuromuscular system synthesizes this information to give you the stability you need to keep your body upright, with your weight evenly distributed.
During exercise, balance helps you move more efficiently for improved performance and injury prevention. Balance training helps stabilize your core muscles and improves your body's ability to react quickly to everyday missteps, which in turn helps prevent falls.
Incorporating balance training into your daily activities or exercise routine can be easy and fun. These exercises should be tailored to your skill level. You should be challenged, but not to the degree that it is difficult to do them safely.
Here are some ways to incorporate balance activities into your day:
Good balance is especially important for older adults. Each year more than 1 in 4 people 65 and older fall, and 3 million are treated in the emergency department for falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Balance exercises can help older adults prevent falls and maintain their independence.
Connecting with others can help make your fitness goals more fun. Share your progress and get encouragement from others in the Healthy Living and Aging Well groups on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.