you realize your balance is declining, but feel lost on where to start
improving it? Notice that your mobility isn’t what it used to be, but not sure
how to take the first step to make it better?
We all get a little lost sometimes, especially when it comes to our health as we age. As a physical therapist, my job is to break things down into the smallest possible pieces to help someone gain movement confidence. Taking small steps gets the ball rolling and banishes overwhelm.
Just remember, all it takes is just one step every day in the right direction. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the list below as a guide.
best place to start to build balance
and movement confidence is to break things down into smaller
parts, perform a lot of repetitions, and set yourself up in a safe environment.
great place to start is to write a list of all the movements you don’t feel
confident doing. For example, for many people standing on one foot without
holding onto anything would be at the top of the list.
pick one activity from your list to start with and break it down into smaller
parts. In our example, the first step to standing confidently on one leg would
be to shift your weight toward one side while keeping both feet on the ground.
to practice this simple movement. Keep a chair positioned behind you in case
you need it and stand in front of something sturdy, like your kitchen
countertop, for arm support.
practicing small movements like this, you train your brain for movement
success. In this early stage, repetition and safety are key.
my practice, I meet many clients who are afraid to ask people in their life for
guidance. It’s okay to tell someone you don’t know where to start and ask for input.
you’re afraid to start on your own or need accountability, find someone to
practice with you or join a local group class. Make sure you’re surrounded with
people you feel safe to ask for advice and who will build you up.
you really aren’t sure where to start or the above steps haven’t helped, seek
the services of a physical therapist. Therapists are trained in helping people
become less overwhelmed in improving their movement.
can take you through baseline
balance and mobility
testing so you know where you’re starting from. This will also
help you monitor your progress over time. A therapist will coach you through
the appropriate progression of exercises, which can help you further build your
you start gaining some momentum and confidence, add small challenges through
variety. The more variety you expose your mind and body to, the better you’ll
you’ve mastered standing on one foot on level surface, find a different surface
to try. Or practice with your eyes closed. Set up obstacle courses for
yourself. The possibilities are endless.
continue to make an effort to challenge yourself in small ways each and every
all else, just remember that everyone has to start somewhere. It’s never too
late to start to improve your balance and movement, so you might as well get
started today. Be kind and gentle with yourself and listen to what your body is
much movement do you have in a day? Is it intentional? Do you feel overwhelmed
by the thought of starting to move more? Which movement do you find hardest? Can
you think of ways to break it down in smaller parts? Please share your thoughts
with our community and let’s have a discussion.