Balance is an important ability to have in everyone as it is the core of every movement we make in our daily lives and without it, we will not be able to accomplish those movements with efficiency. To a 5-year-old, balance is learning to ride a bike without training wheels. For adults, it can mean catching yourself while tripping over or while carrying groceries to your car. To sports enthusiasts, balance may mean to be able to kick a ball far or to hit a tennis ball with awkward feet placement.
More importantly, having a good balance control reduces the risk of falls and injury. This becomes more of a concern as we age due to slowly becoming less reactive in movement. To the elderly, balance is hopefully not losing it while walking, but also being able to maintain it in order to prevent falling. While the younger adults suffer a scratch from falling, the elderly may not be as lucky. For them, a fall could result in breaking a bone, leading to loss of independence, or, even death.
How to know if you have good/bad balance
A simple test that you can use to assess your balance in standing is the single-leg stance test
- Performed with eyes open and hands at the hip (arms akimbo)
- Lift 1 leg up until hip joint is at 90, start the timer
* You should be able to reach the 30 sec if you are within the age range of 20-50 / 20 sec if you are within the age range of 50-70.
Alternatively, you can visit our physiotherapy centre to undergo a detailed balance assessment using a computerized posturography and functional mat assessment.
Dynamic Functional Assessment
The device we use for the computerized posturography allows us to specifically assess the risk of falls for the elderly on top of general assessments. For the elderly, we have specialized training programs for them to practice their balance in a safe and controlled environment.
Like every other ability, balance can be lost when it is not practiced and when an injury (especially to the lower limb) occurs. This is where rehabilitation and reconditioning comes in. With proper rehabilitation and reconditioning, this key ability can be worked on and improved.
Learn more on our other Treatments.