Posted on 6th Oct 2015
Did you ever experience the room spinning round you? Or your head feeling like it’s not attached to your body? Do you often feel dizzy or lightheaded? If so, you could be suffering from a problem with balance. Balance problems can affect anyone but they are more likely to happen to older adults. Difficulty with balance is one of the most common reasons seniors consult their doctor. If your balance is letting you down there is something you can do. You may be surprised to learn that knee strength affects your balance. Building up the muscles in your knees can be a key strategy to improving balance. Here’s how to strengthen your knees and improve your balance in one simple move.
Why is Balance Important?
Good balance is vital, particularly as you get older. When you balance properly you can control and keep your body position, which makes it easier to walk steadily, get up from the bed or a chair without falling, climb up and down stairs, and bend over without toppling over. All of these movements are essential for everyday activities. Without good balance you are more at risk of falls, sprains, strains, and other injuries.
Balance and Your Knees
Your inner ear is responsible for your sense of balance, which governs whether you stay upright or fall over. The specific part of the inner ear that handles balance is the labyrinth. The labyrinth works alongside other systems in your body like your eyes, your joints, and your bones to keep your body in the correct stable position, whether you are standing still, walking, running or stretching.
The strength you have in your knees plays a part in how good your balance is. When your knees and ankles are weak you are less able to support the weight of your body in a stable position. When the inner ear is not doing its job properly, and you also have weak knees, you are more likely to fall and suffer injury. If you fall as an older adult you are more likely to suffer serious consequences such as a broken bone or a broken hip. Bones and joints tend to take longer to heal when you are older, and you are more likely to experience complications as a result of the fall. Many people become isolated and immobile after a fall. Good balance and strong knees are crucial to prevent falls and fall-related injuries.
Quickest Exercise for Balance and Knee Pain
To improve balance and strengthen your knees, try this quick and simple exercise.
- Stand up straight and hold onto the back of a chair or a table for balance (hold lightly, don’t grip too hard).
- Bend one knee slowly upwards so that the heel moves towards your buttocks. Your foot should lift up and you need to be standing on one leg.
- Hold the position with your foot touching, or close to touching, the back of your buttocks for a few seconds. Breathe slowly and steadily.
- Slowly and carefully lower your foot to the ground.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg, remembering to breathe slowly and steadily. If you have problems with your balance try focusing on a fixed point a short distance from you and maintain this focus as you move your leg.
- Once you have mastered the basic technique make the exercise more challenging by holding the chair with one fingertip, then progress to having no hands on the chair. The next modification is to do the exercise with your eyes closed and your hands by your sides. You can also add resistance, when you are comfortable, by using fitness equipment to increase flexibility and strength.
- Make sure you are steady and comfortable before you move onto the next modification of the exercise. Do the exercise with your regular stretches in order to build strength in your knees and also improve your balance.
There are other ways to improve balance and also to work on strengthening your joints to support your weight. A regular stretching program is beneficial to help increase strength in your knees and your ankles, which will help you to be more stable and better able to balance. You can add extra resistance and make the workout more challenging by using a specialist fitness aid to help knee strength.
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