There are many important aspects of health that most of us don’t really think about on a day-to-day basis. Why? Because there aren’t any problems, and everything is working as it should. We tend to learn about different aspects of health and wellness only when something goes wrong, when we’re not entirely well, when we need to find our way back to equilibrium.
Balance is definitely one of those areas. The human body actually has amazing and subtle components in place to facilitate balance. This includes the vestibular organs in the inner ear, the eyes, muscles, ligaments and bones. But when we’re walking around in daily life, we don’t think much about these components. We just expect them work.
But a huge number of Americans will have balance issues at some point in their adult lives, and these problems become more statistically likely as we age. Let’s take a look at four documented and simple ways to improve balance in daily life.
1. Practice mild stretching and strength training
Being in overall good health and good physical shape is a very important component of maintaining good balance. Gentle exercises (whether aerobic, isometric or using an exercise machine) help develop muscle tone and overall strength, which is a huge contribute to balance.
2. Work with a qualified physical therapist
People often don’t realize how tangible the results of physical therapy can be. What’s more, you don’t need a specific reason to try physical therapy. Preventative measures to strengthen your balancing skills can help prevent the kind of injuries that make physical therapy and rehabilitation necessary in many cases.
3. Eliminate balance hazards in your every life
There are any number of things that can make us lose balance in daily life, from slippery surfaces to old shoes that have no grip. By scanning your daily environment for possible balance hazards (especially when you’re out and about), you’ll be more alert and less prone to unexpected slips. This type of “situational awareness” is definitely part of maintaining good balance, especially as we age.
4. Get your inner ears checked
Vestibular disorders (disorders that affect the organs of the inner ear, which are partly responsible for balance) are an often-overlooked source of balance problems. Vestibular therapy techniques are available and proven to diminish or completely resolve vestibular disorders. In very severe cases, surgery may be indicated. Normally, however, physical therapy is the right answer for a timely and non-invasive recovery from various types of vestibular illness.
Finding the help you need to stay balanced
Working with a physical therapist is a proven, documented way to overcome balance issues — whether you’re recovering from an injury, dealing with vestibular (inner ear) issues, or simply struggling with balance as you get older. If you’re looking for a physical therapist to help you with balance issues, there should be options in your area — but it’s always better to focus on therapists who have proven experience in balance issues and vestibular therapy, rather than those who do not. Good luck!