Uneven sidewalks and slippery leaves can trip us up this time of year! We’re here to help you find easy ways to boost balance and thwart the number cause of injury in folks over 65.
Savor vanilla pudding.
Dip into the creamy treat while bingewatching your favorite show, and you’ll lessen your risk of balance-disrupting dizzy spells by 82 percent, suggests research in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine. The combination of calcium and vitamin D in dairy or fortified plant-based milk helps your inner ears regulate your sense of balance, plus it bolsters bone and muscle strength needed for good coordination. What’s more, Swiss investigators reporting in the British Medical Journal found that vitamin D improves muscles’ ability to contract with lightning-quick speeded if you ever do start to stumble — especially for women over 60.
Kick off your shoes.
Go barefoot or slip on grippy yoga socks while puttering around the house, and you’ll significantly lessen your odds of an unexpected tumble. The reason? Strong feet are the very foundation of balance. Yet shoes limit the foot’s range of motion, preventing the tiny muscles and tendons from moving in ways that build them up and strengthen feet and ankles. Indeed, recent University of Liverpool research suggests that simply kicking off restrictive shoes for as little as 2 hours a day gives feet a daily “workout” that’s so effective, it improves balance and strengthens feet by 60 percent to keep you steady.
The mini break you’re taking to enjoy these pages of Woman’s World has a big benefit for balance! Stress ramps up the body’s cortisol level, and surges of this “fight or flight” hormone hamper your vestibular system, the part of the inner ear and brain that helps control balance. Thankfully, British investigators say just 6 minutes of reading for fun quashes coordination-hindering cortisol by 68 percent.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.