Did you know that professional golfers can balance on one leg for over 20 seconds WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED? If you’re like me, it’s hard to stand on BOTH feet with your eyes closed for 20 seconds.
Think about it. Imagine you are walking on a dark sidewalk. That is like a quick single-leg balance (unless you are doing the bunny hop) with your eyes nearly closed. Don’t forget that walking is really a short single-leg balance. Is it no wonder that people fall at night, right?
CDC statistics on falls in older adults
According to the CDC and their 2019 statistics (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), there were:
- 34,00 deaths due to falls among adults 65. Falls are the leading cause of death due to an injury for this age group
- 3 million emergency room visits are due to older adult falls
- $50 Billion in medical costs are paid annually due to adult falls
As adults who are in their 60s and beyond (isn’t that why you are reading Turning 60 and Beyond), we need to plan for what we want to be able to do now and in the upcoming decade of life. We will never be as young as we are today. Think of planning your future by reverse engineering to determine what we will need to be strong and mobile today and in the future. We need to develop our strength and mobility plan TODAY.
Things you should be able to do in your 60s
1. Get up off the floor
2. Lift 20 pounds
3. Balance on one foot for 10 seconds or more
If you answered NO to any of these, you need to do something NOW. Who will pick you up if you fall? Who will help you lift groceries, who will help the aging dog into the car? We want to have fun as older adults, not be dependent on others. But waiting to be fit isn’t the answer. Things only slide backward. Just ask someone who has been ill or hospitalized for a week and is on bedrest. They are VERY WEAK when they finally get out of bed.
How can you keep from falling?
If you can do all of the above now, BRAVO! Now, will you be able to do them over the next 10 years? As the saying goes you have to be ready to get ready. That means you need to do the strength, balance, and mobility work regularly so you are ready for the next decade.
Let’s look at balance. What can you do today to improve your single leg balance?
When I asked my T60 Fit Clients how they incorporate single-leg balance into their day-to-day activities. These were their answers.
I stand on one leg while…
Feeding or visiting the chickens
Pouring a cup of coffee/tea while standing at the kitchen counter
Waiting for the laundry to be finished
Doing craft projects
Looking for items in the pantry
Cooking at the stove
Winding yarn on a swift
Standing in line at the store
Talking on the phone
And one person added sometimes I stand on one leg just for fun!
My Free Better Balance and Strength Handout
You can find my Better Balance and Strength in Less than 5 Minutes A Day by clicking the link or going to the free resources tab on this website.
The bottom line is, don’t wait until you fall to decide to do something. Start today and enjoy your life.
Resources from the CDC
Keep on your Feet – Preventing Older Adult Falls
My Mobility Plan