Anti-aging exercise: Part 1

Anti-aging exercise Part 1: Balance and Co-ordination. As we grow older our bones often become thin (Osteopenia or Osteoporosis). A fall may result in a broken bone. None of us want such falls.  And yet so many people older than 50 do fall. And they do break bones. Why is it that so many elders fall?

There is a scientific reason for falls after age 50. As we age, our balance and co-ordination begin to decline. Actually this decline starts when we are in our forties! But because our yearly decline is very small (about 1%) we do not notice it.

By the time we are 65, our balance and co-ordination may dropped about 20%. And by age 75, we lose almost 1/3 of our balance!   And it keeps getting worse each year.

I do not know why few doctors talk about this to their middle aged patients/clients. Balance and co-ordination will continue to decline as we age UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING about it.  And there are things that can be done. But most people do nothing. And this why falls become so common among older persons.. 

But this does not have to happen to you.

You do not need to experience this decline in balance and co-ordination.  There are elders who retain good balance well into old age. Karel Wallenda, walked a tight rope across Talluhah Gorge when he was in his 80s and Ivy Baldwin walked across South Baldwin Creek, a distance of 635 feet, when Baldwin was in his 60s.

Now you may not want to start tight rope waling but there are  Anti-aging exercise patterns that stop and even reverses age related declines in balance and co-ordination.  Each exercise pattern takes less than a minute to do.  AND if you do these exercises regularly, you will not only stop further loses in balance and co-ordination but you can also reverse any loss you may already have!

Anyone who starts doing these simple exercises while they are in their  fifties,  will not experience age related declines in balance and co-ordination. Here is anti-aging exercise program that can reduce your risk of falling as you age.

What are these balance and co-ordination exercises?

Before you begin you will want to find out your current levels. So  here are a few simple balance and coordination tests that you can do in your own home. The whole set takes less than 15 minutes. Why not take the test before you go to bed tonight. It is an easy anti-aging activity and it will cost you nothing! 

Anti-aging exercise: balance tests:

1. Go into the kitchen. Get a straight back chair and a clock wit6h a second hand. Put your clock where you can see it easily or ask someone else to time you.

Stand next to a counter. Put one hand on the counter and the other on the back of a tall straight back chair. [Be sure that the chair has enough stability that it will not tip if you lean your weight on its back. Use a sturdy chair or ask someone to sit on the chair to weigh it down.]

2. Now, check the time. Then bend your left knee a bit so your left foot is off the floor behind you. Take your hands off the counter and chair so you are standing on one foot. See how long you can stand on one foot without having to touch anything to keep your balance. If you begin to topple, hold on and then check the clock to see how long you lasted.

Write down how many minutes or seconds you were able to stand during this first balance exercise.

3. Now do the same exercise but raise your right foot off the floor behind you. Again, write down how long you were able to stand on one foot.

If you were not able to stand in either position for at least 1 minute, do not do the rest of the test. Instead practice standing on one foot as often as you can. It is easy to do. You can do it while waiting in line, while answering the phone or even in an elevator. Almost no one will know that you are practicing - unless of course you lurch into something. This exercise makes waiting for the bus or in a check out line a gift to your anti-aging program. You can use the time to regain and improve your balance and co-ordination.

If and when you can hold the position for a full minute, go on to you second level test.

Second Anti-aging exercise: balance test

1. Do the same thing as in test #1 only this time bend your knee far enough that your shin is parallel with the floor. Again, time how long you can stand on one foot without touching anything.

2. Switch to the other foot. Then put the chair away and get ready for your next exercise.

If you were able to do this hold the position with each leg for at least one minute, then go on to the next exercise. If not, then this is the position you need to practice so you can get your more youthful balance and co-ordination back.

Again, you can do this at any time and in any place. I sometimes do it while waiting for food to heat up - it takes only a minute but by practicing, it is not an anti-aging minutes.

When you can pass the second test with flying colors, you are ready for the third and last test.

Third Anti-aging exercise balance test

1. Toe Walking. Go to the far end of the kitchen counter. Now walk to the other end of the counter on your toes. If you need to touch the counter for balance or to come down off your toes, stop. How far did you get before having to stop?

2. Heel Walking. Now do the same thing only this time walk on your heels so your toes do not touch the floor.

3. Cross-over walking. Stand facing the counter. Be sure you are about one foot away from the edge so you can move your feet easily and still grab the counter if you need it. Now walk sideways, crossing your right leg in front of your left until you have gone the length of the counter. If you lose balance, stop and jot down about how far you got.

Then come back crossing your left leg in front of your right.

OK, those are the three tests. With each one you need to stop and practice at the level where you had any difficulty before going on to the next stage.

When you are proficient at all 3 stages, then go back and test yourself on level one with your eyes closed.

Many people whose proprioception is compromised have real difficulty doing stage one with their eyes closed so be sure to have ready support and/or have someone with you.

Here is a page with some Anti-aging exercise: Balance on it.

Co-ordination exercises

One of the easiest ways to test AND to improve your co-ordination is to use tennis balls.

Bounce the ball on the floor and catch it. That's it. As you get better at this, you can add steps such as using alternate hands or bouncing it off a wall or the edge of a step. If you play handball or tennis you will probably be good at this.

Another coordination exercise is to play catch with a large beach ball. Again, if you have difficulty, you can do this from a chair until your balance improves. Or you can do it in a swimming pool or lake. If your balance is good, then you can do this coordination exercise in the back yard or on the sand.

Another good coordination exercise is playing old fashioned jacks or hitting a ball off a wall or hitting a ball with a bat.

Yes, all these things are those which you may have done back when your were 7 - 14 year old. Those were the years when you were first were improving your co-ordination. If you have not continued practicing, your eye hand motions might be a bit off. BUT you can get them back.

So buy a set of jacks and play it at your desk on lunch hour or ask your children to play catch or take some play time with your grand children.

Here is a short video demonstrating how easy Anti-aging exercise: Co-ordination can be.

These things are worth doing. They will keep you young and prevent you from developing old age problems in walking and balance.

If you have done your anti-aging exercise for balance and co-ordination often, you will be 'younger than your years' for the rest of your life.