Balance is an important part of remaining active and preventing falls. Unfortunately it is yet another thing that becomes a challenge as we age. Loss of balance is the primary factor in falls, fear of falling, changes in walking habits, and limiting activity.
Good balance is dependent on sensory input from the eyes, inner ear function, posture, strength, and our ability to sense the position and movement in our feet, legs and arms. That may sound like a lot of things to work on at once, but the way our mind and body is wired there are some simple ways to maintain good balance through our lifetime.
One is to remain active! Whenever you move your motor and sensory systems integrate to work together. The more you challenge these systems the better they get.
In therapy we have adopted the use of Wii-Fit Nintendo system to improve balance. The Wii system has been subjected to studies to evaluate it’s effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation, balance and coordination training and passed with flying colors.
The Wii games we use for balance training are, Deep Breathing, Tilt Board, Single leg Stance, Bubble River Float. Watching the TV screen allows our eyes to be our biofeedback to our brain, sending messages to our core muscles, inner ear, and our leg muscles and joints. The main hurdle we have in maintaining any fitness program is motivation. The Wii adds the “fun” component that keeps people coming back for more.
Don’t wait for a fall to start working on your balance.
If you have concerns about starting to work on your balance on your own ask your doctor about coming in to see a physical therapist to be evaluated and to set up a program that fits your needs. You’ll also get a chance to experience the Wii-Fit balance program and have fun while you get your life back in balance.