Test Your Balance

Take this test to see if your balance is sufficient to avoid slipping and falling this winter

Have you ever taken a step on a slippery patch of ice or uneven snow and almost lost your balance? Most of us have and have been fortunate enough to catch ourselves and stay upright. However, others have found themselves falling and breaking an arm, a hip or even incurring a serious head injury. The CDC reports 2.8 million people treated in the ER department each year for injuries related to falling.

Having good balance and ability to catch yourself during a wrong step is crucial especially during the winter months. As we get older we start to lose our proprioceptive feedback and our balance starts to decline. Therefore, it is important to test your balance and see whether it is in top shape or if you need to take action to improve it.

Below are 5 simple steps to testing your balance:

1. Stand with your feet touching side by side and close your eyes: You should be able to stand for > 30 seconds without swaying or losing your balance

2. Stand with your feet tandem (one foot in front of the other) and close your eyes: You should be able to stand for > 30 seconds without swaying or losing your balance

3. Stand and reach forward with outstretched arms as far as you can while standing: You should be able to reach forward confidently 25cm (10 inches) without losing your balance

4. Stand on one leg: You should be able to stand for > 30 seconds without swaying or losing your balance

5. Stand on one leg and close your eyes: You should be able to stand for > 20 seconds without swaying or losing your balance

If you were unable to complete any of the above balance tests than you should be proactively working on your balance. Balance is important for all ages, whether young or old. Balance is required in order to perform basic tasks such as walking in a busy street and important to enhance your ability to perform higher level tasks such as sports and athletics. Balance is a system just like strength or flexibility and you need to practice and challenge your balance in order to improve it.

The balance tests shown above can also be used as exercises to improve your balance. You can seek out a physical therapist to learn more and start working on your balance today. You do not need to have a prescription from your physician. You can go to betterpt.com to find a trusted physical therapy clinic that is in your area, within your insurance network and has availability that fits with your schedule.

Don’t wait, enhance your balance today!

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