Exercising Your Balance: April 4, 2011

For some people, exercise feels like hard work but that hard work can really pay off. Not just for the body, but the mind. "Anything - tennis, golf, that makes you move your body in ways you normally wouldn't in a daily activity is what keeps everything up to par if you will," says Lee Memorial Health System physical therapist, Nathalie Grondin. She adds it's daily exercise that strengthens the body and the mind relationship and as a result, improves our balance.

"Any type of activity that challenges our body outside of our normal walking and sitting to standing kind of does things to the brain to keep it on its toes if you will, ready to react, it forms this great connection so when you face a challenge in life the brain and the body know what to do and how to handle it."

Nathalie often tests for balance problems at The Balance Clinic. She says that by incorporating physical challenges, the risk of falling or tripping can diminish, especially as we get older. "This is why activities such as dancing, dancing is a wonderful activity, it's fun, it makes people turn, it makes people interact, stand on one leg."

This mind-body balance connection can provide the perfect foundation to aging gracefully. "The earlier we pay attention to it, the better, like anything, when it comes to health of course."

Nathalie says there are simple things you can do inside your home to practice your coordination. Try getting up and sitting down without using your hands several times in a row. Or try standing on one leg for 30 seconds. Also do this near a wall or with someone next to you for support.