In your routine, you could include standing on one leg for 30 seconds (repeat for both sides). Choose a safe place to do this, near something stable that you can grab if you feel unstable – such as a bench or chair back). Choose something in front of you to focus on at eye level. It is best done in bare feet so that you can use all the bones and muscles in your feet to help you.
When you can do this without wobbling, you could try doing the same thing with your head turned to the left for 30 seconds (repeat for both legs), then the head turned to the right.
The next stage is to close your eyes and stand on one leg (again repeat for both legs). Try having your head in a neutral position first and then progress to the head turned to the side as you improve.
When you can do this with your eyes closed and maintain balance, then you could try making the surface you stand on less stable. This can be done by folding a towel in half and standing on that and then later (when your balance improves again), try it folded into 4 (quarters).
This might seem like a lot but remember it should only take 1 minute (30 seconds on each leg). I recommend doing this twice a day.
These days we all walk around in firm shoes on hard surfaces. This makes it harder to keep all the nerve pathways from our joints in our arms and legs working well and quickly. It is important to have these pathways working quickly to help us recover our balance if we start to feel unsteady or walk on a rough surface.
There is a very simple thing to do to help get these pathways working better. Take your shoes and socks off for a short time every day and walk on uneven surfaces. Please make sure the area is safe for your state of fitness, after all we want you to stay on your feet whilst you practice this! You may need someone to assist you to start with.
Always speak to your chiropractor or health professional to see if this is appropriate for you.
I wish you good health and vitality in your golden years. It is never too soon to start getting your nervous system and balance systems to work to their best ability. It is even something I give children to do now as too much screen time is taking away from their time moving about outdoors, learning about how their bodies work.
Strong Women Stay Young, Miriam E. Nelson, Sarah Wernick, Bantam Books, 4 Apr. 2000
Author: Cheyne Thompson
Cheyne graduated from Sydney College of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1984. She also has postgraduate qualifications in paediatric chiropractic care. Before joining Clayfield Chiropractic Clinic in 1993, Cheyne enjoyed seven years in a Sydney based practice. Cheyne has three children and 2 grandchildren.