How balance exercises contribute to healthy aging

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – A 2022 study attributes healthy aging, longevity, and improved quality of life to balance exercises, improving the aging process by combating the risk of falling.

“A little bit goes a long way,” said SSM Health physical therapist Julie Lyne. “I think it’s really important that you, that we stay motivated to practice balance because everything we do comes down to balance when we’re upright on our feet and moving around.”

The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine attributes living longer to continued work on balance and stability. Researchers say the study found just 50% of participants ages 70 to 75 were able to complete a 10-second balance test. The study ties the proportion of deaths was nearly four times higher for those unable to complete the balance test, which is standing on one leg for 10 seconds.

Lyne says a few simple daily exercises go a long way in improving stability and avoiding falls, especially for the elderly. The CDC reports roughly three million elderly adults go to the emergency department each year for fall injuries and attribute over 32,000 deaths yearly to falls.

“It’s been very interesting to think about how an exercise like this would help my balance,” said Joyce Siefering. “It’s like, well as Julie said to me, we’ve got to go, she said this is something you do in the kitchen.”

Siefering meets with Lyne to go over PT for balance and stability. She says she has battled Parkinson’s for over a decade, and the sound footing the movements give her are crucial for her safety moving around the house.

“And there are a lot of different kinds of exercises that you can use to help balance,” said Siefering.

Simple moves go a long way as she does things like cook at home. And Lyne adds that balance exercises can make a huge difference for anyone as they age.

Helpful movements for balance and stability can be found on many medical websites, including WebMD.

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