New medical research indicates that the ability to stand on one leg for at least 10 seconds can be an indicator of good overall health. “Conversely,” CNN reports, “poor balance in later life is linked to nearly double the risk of death from any causebalance within the next decade.” These conclusions were published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“As we age, our flexibility and balance diminish. Balance begins to be more difficult beginning in our 50s and can quickly go downhill,” says healthline.com. “Problems with balance increase the risk of falling, which is troubling as falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. More than 37 million falls are severe enough to require medical attention each year.”

“It’s essential to identify health problems that could be negatively affecting balance and correct them if possible,” Dr. Adam Rivadeneyra, a primary care sports medicine physician, believes. “If the patient is healthy, balance can be improved with practice or focused physical therapy to improve strength, endurance, and coordination.”

Although this study was observational and does not demonstrate a direct cause and effect relationship, it does suggest that a few minutes a day devoted to improving your balance may yield life-extending benefits. “Nearly any activity that keeps you on your feet and moving, such as walking, can help you maintain good balance,” the Mayo Clinic offers. “But specific exercises designed to enhance your balance are beneficial to include in your daily routine and can help improve your stability. For example, balance on one foot while you're standing for a period of time at home or when you're out and about. Or, stand up from a seated position without using your hands. Or try walking in a line, heel to toe, for a short distance.” You can find additional simple balance exercises on the Mayo Clinic’s website.

 

Timothy J. Cuddigan
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Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience
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