5 Unexpected Tricks To Help You Improve Your Balance and Outsmart Winter Falls
Don't let the fear of falling ruin the season.
The risk of slipping and falling is a scary one, especially as we age and find ourselves less steady on our feet. In the winter, falls become more common as terrains get icy, and staying balanced as you walk outside and enjoy the snowy sights becomes more important than ever. Aside from helping you avoid painful, debilitating falls, staying steady on your feet is also deeply important for overall health. In fact, recent research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests those with good balance are nearly twice as likely to outlive their unsteady peers. If you’re concerned your balance isn’t quite as steady as it should be, there are easy ways to work on improving it. These five fun strategies for boosting your balance will help you walk with confidence.
1. Do a little dance.
Crank up some tunes and dance a little bit! Dancing for just a few minutes every day can help reduce your fall risk, says a study published in the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. Dancing improves “dynamic balance,” or the ability to remain upright and stable while moving about. Plus, it sharpens reaction time, so you can catch yourself if you do start to stumble. Need inspiration? Try Body Groove, which offers easy-to-follow five minute dances.
2. Sip eggnog or juice.
Calcium and vitamin D, which is found in beverages like eggnog and orange juice, may cut your risk of balance-busting dizzy spells, suggests research in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine. The nutrients bolster bones to boost stability, plus they help inner ears regulate balance.
3. Pretend you’re a ballerina.
While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, stand on your tiptoes like a ballerina, then lower down. (Hold the counter for support.) When done regularly, lower-body strength exercises can help cut your fall risk by strengthening the muscles that help you balance, according to physical therapists.
4. Make time for fun.
Pencil in time for pickleball at your town’s indoor court. Active leisure activities that involve your body and your brain improve your sense of stability when moving, Harvard scientists say. In their study, folks with active hobbies had a noticeably lower risk of taking a tumble than those without.
5. Eat blueberry crumble.
Eating half a cup of blueberries daily delivers a dose of resveratrol, an antioxidant that may improve motor coordination and balance, say scientists at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University. You may also want to try resveratrol supplements.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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