Having trouble keeping your balance?

Posted by John, Volunteer Mentor @johnbishop, Dec 13, 2018

I am at the age where I am always watching where I step so as not to lose my balance. Falling can be dangerous for some of us in the older generation. This is especially true when you have other health problems. It's important to work on being able to keep your balance. Today I received a Mayo Clinic on Controlling your Arthritis which I thought had some excellent and easy to do exercises to help gain better balance.

Slide show: Balance exercises
Adding a few simple exercises to your daily routine may help you prevent falls and improve your balance. See how to do them.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/balance-exercises/sls-20076853?s=1

What are your biggest balance challenges? What kind of exercises help you?

John

@becsbuddy

What an excellent suggestion! As we get older, we all need to think more. I certainly hope you weren’t hurt when you fell! Do you use a walker at all? When I was so unstable, I found it very helpful. Take care! Becky

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No, I never needed a walker. I needed to think about what I was doing at the time. It is a bad habit to let your mind wander ahead of your steps and be in a hurry needlessly. Doctors advise us of physical helps but forget to urge us to think in a more disciplined way. We still have functional minds. We just are lazy in our thinking. Our surgeries take away the pain and leave the stiffness. Bummer! Dorisena

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@becsbuddy

What an excellent suggestion! As we get older, we all need to think more. I certainly hope you weren’t hurt when you fell! Do you use a walker at all? When I was so unstable, I found it very helpful. Take care! Becky

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At the moment I fell, I was not unstable. I hurried too fast, didn't think about my movement, and tripped. It was a good lesson, after the pain stopped in my chest. I thought about what I was doing when I stepped on the landing. after that, and walk slower, and I think about what I am doing. With practice, I am walking with more confidence. Practice, practice, practice. Like piano lessons. Dorisena

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@dorisena

At the moment I fell, I was not unstable. I hurried too fast, didn't think about my movement, and tripped. It was a good lesson, after the pain stopped in my chest. I thought about what I was doing when I stepped on the landing. after that, and walk slower, and I think about what I am doing. With practice, I am walking with more confidence. Practice, practice, practice. Like piano lessons. Dorisena

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@dorisena
Hi, You sound like the smartest 82 year I know. I am 78 and have been going to 3 active senior classes weekly for over 5 years
where we have an instructor who is 79. He is in great shape. We concentrate on stretching, balance, cardio and strength. He can’t emphasize enough the importance of stretching and maintaining our stability and balance to reduce injury and falls.
I love that you think before you walk and are practicing your gait. I do the same and am careful when climbing stairs and watching where I walk. I exercise daily. So many people our age don’t move enough and, even in my class, they do the minimum.

You sound like you are really on the ball there lady. Keep on doing what you are doing and maybe we both can audition for the senior version of Cirque Du Soleil.

Regards from Florida Mary

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@imallears

@dorisena
Hi, You sound like the smartest 82 year I know. I am 78 and have been going to 3 active senior classes weekly for over 5 years
where we have an instructor who is 79. He is in great shape. We concentrate on stretching, balance, cardio and strength. He can’t emphasize enough the importance of stretching and maintaining our stability and balance to reduce injury and falls.
I love that you think before you walk and are practicing your gait. I do the same and am careful when climbing stairs and watching where I walk. I exercise daily. So many people our age don’t move enough and, even in my class, they do the minimum.

You sound like you are really on the ball there lady. Keep on doing what you are doing and maybe we both can audition for the senior version of Cirque Du Soleil.

Regards from Florida Mary

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@dorisena Good for you both I'm 76 and started a chair exercise here where I live 2x week 30minutes In May on Tues.@Thrus.the arthritis class for exercise so will be 4x a week. This is the way to go at our new age

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@helenr

Lately I am falling a lot. Sometimes by stepping on a pebble, or sometimes for no reason. This is very disconcerting to me. I have no medical issues. Should I have some tests done?

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Anytime you have an issue that is 'disconcerting' I think it needs evaluation. Who knows you better than you? Listen to your body and what it is telling you. Fractures are more difficult to deal with as we age. Best Wishes

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I'm a little "disconcerted" right now. At age 87 I've never had balance issues – my background includes both ballet and fencing – however recently had a
ct scan which showed spine degeneration. Also I saw a Rheumatologist recently with a thumb pain issue and now my wrist hurts. Also have neck pain and
frequent headaches with a sense of imbalance that I never had before. I'm going back to see the Rheumatologist to discuss the thumb/wrist connection and also ask for a physical therapy prescription and recommendation for where to go for that. I do walk a lot and do minimal exercise daily. I guess I'm fortunate in not ever have fallen, but I'm concerned now about going forward and keeping active. This aging is the pits!

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@sapphira

I'm a little "disconcerted" right now. At age 87 I've never had balance issues – my background includes both ballet and fencing – however recently had a
ct scan which showed spine degeneration. Also I saw a Rheumatologist recently with a thumb pain issue and now my wrist hurts. Also have neck pain and
frequent headaches with a sense of imbalance that I never had before. I'm going back to see the Rheumatologist to discuss the thumb/wrist connection and also ask for a physical therapy prescription and recommendation for where to go for that. I do walk a lot and do minimal exercise daily. I guess I'm fortunate in not ever have fallen, but I'm concerned now about going forward and keeping active. This aging is the pits!

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Hi @sapphira, you mentioned that you were going to ask your Rheumatologist for a physical therapy prescription. There is a great discussion here on Connect that you may want to read through and join in which might provide some relief for your symptoms.

> Groups > Neuropathy > Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

I'm 75 soon to be 76 and am hoping to have mobility like yours at 87. I think you are doing great. Aging is the pits for the body but it's the mind that keeps us young ☺ You might also be interested in the following website with short positive videos to keep you going.

https://www.resilientoption.com/

Did your doctor give you any suggestions or treatments for the thumb and wrist pain?

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My doctor felt I had tendonitis in my thumb and to get a small ball and exercise (I didn't do it) – thumb is slightly better with all the cooking and opening bottles,etc. I do, but the wrist is a new issue and I'd like to get an xray of it, if she agrees. Also want to find some good physical therapy – I like it with music and that's hard to find (goes back to my ballet days). Movement should be accompanied with music in my world. Need to find a special place for this. Don't
appreciate this neck/back/head syndrome either. Not sure it's a Rheumatology arena. She may guide me on where/who to see. Thanks for your advice and wonderful optimism ….

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Walking is not enough as I found out. Active all my life- 25,000 steps a day at least for years. Also a bike rider. I had a bad fall last year at 63 and I went to a great Physical therpyist. Stretching and varied movement is the key. Some weights

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Ask your doctor to explain stenosis to you, for your back issues. Or see a good back specialist who does something besides give you pain pills or says "come back in two weeks." With your desire for music and movement you ought to be able to improve your back with something besides surgery. Unfortunately, even though I had scans, I was forced to have five vertebrae fused and a metal cage put in. It is a miracle that I can bend over in my garden, so I am grateful to not be in a wheelchair. It took over two years for the pain to go away, and that included bowel pain from constipation which I had to learn to solve on my own, without pills. I am doing "better than expected" and still wanting to find a place for dancing lessons at age 83, but my daughter says I will hurt myself.
I push myself to walk very far at one time. Your ability to dance and enjoy it will lead you to helpful therapies for your old age. Keep at it. I use my paraffin treatment for my finger joints and play the piano. I wish I could find exercise that is "play." I never did sports. I used to do water aerobics and enjoyed that but it is difficult to find good teachers for that as well. And my bladder doesn't cooperate in the water. We are working on it, aren't we? Dorisena

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The more I think about it, you are correct. Walking is not enough for a dancer. When I was 40 I tried school figures at the ice rink because it was slow and I wanted to try something new while my daughter was training in figure skating. Wow. It was terrific for balance because although I could barely skate, I learned to do controlled moves on one foot and my balance improved tremendously. Unfortunately the pain in my tailbone was awful from the strain and I had to give it up. The arthritis was already causing damage but I thought I could work it out in a few weeks. I did discover that my ankles were strong and I had no problem holding an edge as a beginning skater, but I purchased expensive boots which helped.
Now that I am older and wiser, I believe that a constantly stressful life, without resolving marital issues, does the most harm to our bodies, and we pay for it in our older age. I am a financially secure widow, with a loving family nearby, but my body is never going to be anywhere near normal again. Dorisena

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Stretching, biking ,walking,and some weights as well as a time at Physicisl therapy ( helped me balance myself after not dealing with my injuries correctly ) really made me soar more than I ever thought possible. I was so scared and I am so much better than expected. Simple little stretching/ movements is making a big difference. I am going to be 65 this year and in some ways I am better than my younger years. Also wearing the right shoes makes a difference. Being hearing impaired, older , leftie, curly haired – independent thinker makes falls more likely ( first two is real causes)

Liked by imallears

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I finally found an expert shoe person who did therapy for back problems some time ago. She said I needed better shoes, and sent me for expensive, imported orthotic shoes. After I got over the sticker shock, I handed the salesman my credit card just as I would in the drug store, because if I needed it, I needed it. I have a closet of those shoes now and got rid of my dress shoes. I used a rubber band for stretching on my feet during the nightly news and in no time my feet problems were gone. The doctor wanted to do surgery, and I said, no, God made my foot that way and I wasn't going to have it cut. Sometimes the grandchildren would pull on the stretch bands for me and they thought that was great fun. They all became athletes.
At this time I have some neurologic damage in the left foot from the back and/or knee surgery, but I deal with it with stretching. And those shoes never wear out. Nothing is bad about being an independent thinker. It keeps you trying new ideas. I get it!
Dorisena

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@sapphira

I'm a little "disconcerted" right now. At age 87 I've never had balance issues – my background includes both ballet and fencing – however recently had a
ct scan which showed spine degeneration. Also I saw a Rheumatologist recently with a thumb pain issue and now my wrist hurts. Also have neck pain and
frequent headaches with a sense of imbalance that I never had before. I'm going back to see the Rheumatologist to discuss the thumb/wrist connection and also ask for a physical therapy prescription and recommendation for where to go for that. I do walk a lot and do minimal exercise daily. I guess I'm fortunate in not ever have fallen, but I'm concerned now about going forward and keeping active. This aging is the pits!

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@sapphira
87 is a great age and kudos to you for walking and wanted to pursue PT…..very important. As a former dancer you know stretching is so important to do everyday throughout the day when you think of it. Maybe some light weights. Keeping you pain free is your goal now and keeping your balance and stability is a forever goal. We all “break down” as we age and it’s hard not to let any pain overcome your efforts. Go strong lady….you sound like a positive person….

Regards from Florida Mary

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@bookysue

Stretching, biking ,walking,and some weights as well as a time at Physicisl therapy ( helped me balance myself after not dealing with my injuries correctly ) really made me soar more than I ever thought possible. I was so scared and I am so much better than expected. Simple little stretching/ movements is making a big difference. I am going to be 65 this year and in some ways I am better than my younger years. Also wearing the right shoes makes a difference. Being hearing impaired, older , leftie, curly haired – independent thinker makes falls more likely ( first two is real causes)

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@bookysue
Great and important post! I’m 78 and also think I am in better shape than when I was younger…lucky to have no pain…and also hard of hearing (which is why I am crazy about balance exercises ). I’ve been attending exercise classes for nearly 6 years and incorporate many of the stretching, strength and cardio into my daily routine…throughout the day. What a difference in quality of life.

Regards from Florida Mary

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