Some age-related changes in function start happening long before you might think. Take balance. Did you know it starts to decline somewhere around age 40? Most of us aren’t aware of that, because we can compensate by depending to a greater degree on other senses, like vision.
That means the silent process that can lead to an unintentional fall during your 70s or 80s started decades before that crisis point.
However, just as we can mitigate age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, so too can we shore up our balance and stability.
The how isn’t glamorous of course. You guessed it. Exercise, and repetitive practice.
And, as with muscle strength, even if you have lost ground, you can regain a good deal if you work at it.
You can find out more by reading my latest Good Times health feature: ‘Threats to Your Balance—and What to Do About Them.’
A big thank-you to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise:
- Khrista Boon, program supervisor, SMART (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) Exercise and Falls Prevention Program, Erie St. Clair District of the Victorian Order of Nurses, in Windsor, Ont.
- Doreen, of Windsor, Ont.
- Dr. Brian H. Dalton, associate professor, Sensorimotor Physiology and Integrative Neuromechanics Lab, in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, in Kelowna, BC.
- Dr. Susan Hunter, associate professor and faculty scholar, in the School Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University in London, Ont.
- Devon Konrad, a registered physiotherapist and vestibular physiotherapist, and owner of Ladner Village Physiotherapy Inc., in Ladner, BC.
- Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso, a geriatrician and director of the Gait and Brain Lab in the Parkwood Institute, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, a professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a scientist a the Lawson Research Institute in London, Ont.