Test your Balance
How’s your balance? It’s probably not something you even think about until something happens such as a trip or a tumble that brings it into sharp focus.
We’ve probably all experienced a fall whether it’s tripping over the cat, slipping on icy pavements or catching your heel in the pavement. Most often the only thing that’s hurt is our pride. But as we get older there’s more chance of a fall causing injury, especially as our risk of osteoporosis increases post-menopause.
Menopause can affect our balance although the reasons why aren’t well researched. The tiny crystals in the inner ear can be affected by loss of oestrogen so our natural ‘spirit level’ isn’t as effective. Also menopausal women are more prone to BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – in which everything spins around as if you’re drunk. Then there’s menopause-related palpitations which can make you feel light-headed. It’s always best to check with your doctor if you’re suffering from dizziness or notice a sudden change in your balance.
Although our balance tends to deteriorate post 50, it’s something we can and should work on from a much earlier age, especially as balance exercises are easy to fit into our daily routine.
But first, test your balance:*
- Stand in a safe space with flat shoes or bare feet and hands on hips
- Soften the knee on the supporting leg then lift one foot off the floor
- Start the timer as you close your eyes – it’s easier if you get someone to do the timing for you
- Stop the timer as soon as you have to put your foot down or if you move the supporting foot
- Repeat on the other side and take the best of 3 readings to get your score
How did you get on?
Here’s the average for your age group:
Under 40: 15 seconds
Age 40-49: 13 seconds
Age 50-59: 8 seconds
Age 60-69: 4 seconds
Age 70-79: 3 seconds
Here’s three easy ways to improve your balance.
- Stand on one leg when you brush your teeth. Balance for one minute on each leg.
- Imagine you’re walking on a tightrope placing your feet in a perfectly straight line, heel to toe. Try taking 10 steps forward then backwards without looking down and repeat 3 times.
- Stand on one leg and slowly swing the other leg forward and back with control up to 10 times. If you find this easy, try turning your head gently from side to side.
*If you suffer from dizziness or have any health concerns, please consult a medical professional before trying any new exercise.
A MenoClass combines all the things you need for better health and fitness including aerobics, strength and balance exercises. It’s the best of all worlds bringing together the energy of Zumba, the benefits of body pump and the flexibility and balance of yoga in one fun-filled class. To join an online class, follow this link.