Most people when asked about what parts of their body affect their balance reply with ears. Although correct, the ears are the only part of the body that we cannot exercise to improve balance. The easiest thing to do to improve balance and particularly in your later years when having poor balance can be a concern, is improve ankle mobility.
Why are your ankles so important when it comes to balance?
There is a direct correlation with how stiff your ankles are and how likely you are to fall. Simply put, the stiffer your ankles, the more likely you are to fall. This occurs for two reasons. Firstly your ankles have to be able to move while you are walking on unstable ground. If you walk over a crack in the footpath and your ankle is locked, then it will cause you to tilt to side and possibly fall. The second reason is that the ankles are constantly giving feedback to the brain about how you are moving and what muscles to switch on, like your hip or thigh muscles. The more your ankle moves, the more information it gives.
Strengthening the ankles is also important, but that comes second to having good mobility and movement.
How do you improve ankle mobility?
Simply rolling your ankles is a great place to start. Roll both ankles in a full circle as far you can go for 15-20 seconds, then switch and go the other direction for another 15-20. Lastly practice going up onto your toes and down again for 20-30 seconds. If you are unsteady make sure to have something to hold onto to.
Doing these two simple exercises will improve your balance to help you remain active and healthy!
For further tips on how you can improve your balance, please join us for our free workshop on improving your balance, Wednesday 25th march at 1pm at our Dee Why clinic. Bookings essential on 9984 8883.
Any questions or concerns with your balance, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org