Health Topic Archives

"The Importance of Balance and Flexibility Exercises for the 50+ Age Group" (Part 3 of 3)

We all spend our lives trying to focus on losing weight, getting bigger and toner muscles, and looking good for the summer vacation. Once you approach the 50+ age group, your focus and direction should be geared more toward balance and flexibility as a main staple of your exercise routine.

The importance of this change in exercise routine is two-fold.

First, as we get older, our balance becomes affected by issues such as impaired vision, legs becoming weaker making it harder to walk, spinal degeneration causing poor posture, feet becoming harder to lift causing us to stumble, reaction time slowing, drugs that can cause dizziness, and lower blood pressure that can increase the risk of falls. When these falls occur, especially in women over 50+, undetected osteoporosis can often cause a broken hip or fractured ribs.

Second, as we lose flexibility from years of being in the workforce, from sitting, and from stationary positions, the muscle fibers shorten. When you add strengthening exercises, this causes the muscle to shorten and can indirectly affect the muscle’s ability to respond to balance changes as we get older.

There are some easy ways to work on your balance and flexibility. If you like taking part in classes, Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, aqua therapy (which is exercises in a pool) and Bone Builders are a great place to start. Attending classes 1-2 times per week is ideal. Stretching at home to start each day is also a great idea. This can be with a simple stretching program, exercise ball, or a more structured proprioceptive exercise program. We have these exercises available to review with you for home use. Our office also offers Dr. Kartzman's Flexibility, Ergonomic, and Motion Program. This program involves motions common to you. The goal of this program is to teach you how to improve your level of function by using motions which are familiar to you and to help regain your balance and stability. Check out our website for more information regarding this program.

Short-term, long-term, and lifetime exercise goals are important to map out for all stages of your life. As we get older and our body/lifestyle changes, it is important to be ahead of the curve. As you get older, maintaining an active lifestyle, being able to get on the floor and play with your grandchildren, being able to safely get out of the bathtub without a fear of falling, being able to maintain your independence as long as possible, and maintaining your musculoskeletal health remain important lifelong goals.

Get on the Balance and Flexibility Team today.

For more information, please feel free to contact our office.

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