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Balance and Longevity
I never had particularly good balance growing up, and didn’t think to train it. Partially this was due to a reaction of the Bosu ball craze. Standing on a wobbly plastic half circle while doing dumbbells over your head seemed a quick way to get injured.
Did grappling and other martial arts and jumping rope. Otherwise, who cares? I’m not trying to join Cirque du Soleil.
As I started getting older and looked into the killers of men, this surprised me:
Our aim was to assess whether the ability to complete a 10- s one-legged stance (10-second OLS) is associated with all-cause mortality and whether it adds relevant prognostic information beyond ordinary demographic, anthropometric and clinical data.
Within the limitations of uncontrolled variables such as recent history of falls and physical activity, the ability to successfully complete the 10-s OLS is independently associated with all-cause mortality and adds relevant prognostic information beyond age, sex and several other anthropometric and clinical variables. There is potential benefit to including the 10-s OLS as part of routine physical examination in middle-aged and older adults.
Ok maybe I should start caring, but how quickly does balance fade?
The ability to maintain a one-leg standing position and the relation between plantar two-point discrimination and standing time on one leg were assessed. Participants were 1,241 apparently healthy people aged 2–92 years. Participants were asked to stand on one leg with eyes open (EO group) or closed (EC group) for up to 120 seconds.
The ability to remain standing on one leg with eyes closed appears to begin deteriorating in the late 20s. Age and plantar two-point discrimination distance had a significant positive correlation, and the two-point discrimination distance and standing time on one leg had a significant negative correlation. Decreased plantar sensation appears to be related to the decline in duration of one-leg standing.
Your twenties! My goodness.
I fell HARD.
Dude am I getting old?
I was looking up at the gymnastic rings hanging over the gazebo. Flat on my back.I fell down hard in my backyard. Luckily there were gym mats where I fell.
In this case it wasn’t my physical decay to blame.
A sink hole had formed, hidden by grass, and it caught my ankle by surprise.
I planted a flower in sinkhole to remind myself how fragile life is.
Always be watchful.
Anyway. I don’t want to fall again. I carry about plenty of muscle mass and my bone scan T-score and Z-score are three standard deviations. Without those mats, I could have had a concussion.
Balance training gets a bad reputation because it’s incredibly gimmicky.
Here’s what I’ve been doing with good results.
Stop skipping Bulgarian Split Squats. I try to work those in most workout.
Plyometrics on padded box. Single leg and both legs. Not going for personal records here as ploys have some hazards on their own. Keep those ligaments warm and warmed up.
Suitcase squats with a kettlebell.
Backwards walking, which I already did as part of Knees Over Toes program.
Closing eyes when walking a clear pathway outside, and visualizing the area around me.
One of the best movements for me has been kettlebell farmer’s walks with high steps. You take the kettlebells, do a normal farmers walk, but bring your knee as high up as possible during the steps. You’re not trying to smoke your forearms, you’re not using kettlebells as a “finisher.” The key here is supporting weight in both hands while walking with high steps.
Disclosure: Always consult with a physician before undergoing any physical activity.
There are hundreds of different movements.
Choose some that you can fold into your workout. Some people have even told me they stand on one foot while brushing their teeth. That’s really how easy this stuff is. Fold it into your life so you don’t fall down, break something, and end up dead.
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