As we age, our balance begins to decline. This is due to several factors. With age comes loss of function through sensory elements, ability to integrate information, and musculoskeletal control. This also increases risk of falling. As we continue to lose muscular strength, our sense of balance deteriorates. This also affects our ability to recover from falls.
Three main systems are required to help maintain balance. These are visual, vestibular, and somatosensory. Our visual system helps when predicting depth or distances. When the visual system is impaired, we may miscalculate a step.
The vestibular system regulates how we perceive balance. When our vestibular system is impaired, we may feel unstable on solid ground. Lastly, our somatosensory system regulates the feedback we receive from our tendons. When this is impaired, we may feel as though we lose control of our knees, ankles, etc. Maintaining balance and preventing damaging falls, requires mental focus and muscular endurance.
The good news is, there is a way to prevent harmful falls and maintain balance! Being active is the greatest thing you can do to maintain your health. The greatest effects were seen in programs that included either an hour a week for a year, or twice a week for a 6-month period. Exercise programs that concentrate on strength and balance, help to maintain our bodies’ complex balance systems.
I have been a client at KCP Physical Therapy for 7 years. Before I was referred to them I dealt with neck and lower back/hip pain. I had tried some of the usual avenues without success. Within 6 months of receiving treatment I was 85% better than I had been in a long time. My next step was to begin a small amount of training. I progressed even more. Over time I have incorporated one hour training at least once a week and during some periods twice a week. When KCP added Yoga classes I was all in. I now go to yoga two times a week and one day for personal training. KCP provides a holistic approach to my well being. They know my physical constraints so they are able to build my workouts and yoga around them. I am 68 years old and have never felt better.
I am an active “senior” with a passion to remain active (running, softball, golf, etc)…During the last 3 years I have encountered muscle/soft tissue issues that made staying active difficult. I went to a Sports Medicine M.D who prescribed steroid shots and anti-inflammatory meds which helped but did not correct my problem. I finally sought help from Joyce Kight at KCP. Joyce was able to quickly assess my needs and developed therapy programs to quickly resolve my injuries. In my most recent visit, Joyce found a mis-alignment of my pelvis and corrected the alignment on the first visit. Instead of reducing my activities I have been able to set new goals, including an upcoming marathon with my son . Thanks to Joyce and her excellent staff for getting me back on track quickly and providing me with the treatment and guidance I needed to remain active and healthy.