Do You Have Good Balance? 

In 2014, 29 million falls resulted in 7 million injuries. Many of those who have been injured due to a fall have had previous “near falls” or losses of balance leading up to their injury.  So, how can we reduce the risk of falls especially in more vulnerable and older populations and improve balance?

Balance is influenced through 3 components: 1) our vision, 2) our joint position sense, 3) and our vestibular system. Our vestibular system is composed of bony and membranous canals in both inner ears. It provides information about the acceleration of our head relative to the world, in other words, how fast we are moving. All three of these components are analyzed by our brain to make sense of the information they are providing. Many of us can be visually dependent for balance, so it is important to work on our other two systems in order to reduce the risk of falls. Strengthening and improving your balance recovery strategies can help keep you safe at home. Check out PJ on youtube:  https://youtu.be/DMmB5Yxec8g

What You Need for These Exercises:

  • Clear corner
  • Sturdy chair
  • Pillow of couch cushion

Exercise 1:

  • Stand with back to the corner with a sturdy chair in front of you and couch cushion/pillow behind the chair
  • Stand on the couch cushion/pillow with feet hip width apart and hands hovered over the back of the chair
  • When you have gained your balance, close your eyes for a couple seconds and challenge your  balance
  • If you start to feel you are losing your balance, open your eyes and regain your balance
  • Perform this for 10 cycles
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Hkyel4w4gJ0

Exercise 2:

  • Stand on flat ground with your back to the corner and hands hovering over the back of a sturdy chair
  • Place your feet so one is slightly in front of the other
  • Then turn your head side to side in a 30 degree range of motion for 10-15 seconds, keeping your environment in focus
  • Then regain your balance
  • Perform this for 10 cycles
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/zuupC786d5Y

Exercise 3:

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and back of heels about one foot length away from the wall
  • Sit your bottom back against the wall
  • Squeeze your glutes and draw your hips away from the wall
  • Then sit your bottom back against the wall
  • Perform 20 repetitions
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Oxv-9j4fzqM

Exercise 4:

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and hold onto counter or back of chair
  • Keeping your heels on the ground, raise your toes up towards the ceiling
  • Try to isolate the movement to your ankles and keep the rest of your body still
  • Perform 20 repetitions
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/__GMrcUHreQ

Exercise 5:

  • This is an advancement of the above exercise
  • Stand on your heels
  • And walk keeping your toes pointed up towards the ceiling
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/G43Gl5_UyjE

Exercise 6:

  • Kneel on one knee with the opposite foot directly in front of the planted knee
  • The back foot’s toes should be pointed 
  • Attempt to balance here
  • If that is easy, straighten both arms out at shoulder height and move your hands as if you are drawing an infinity sign or sideways figure “8”
  • If that is easy, hold onto a can or small weight in both hands and move your hands as if you are drawing an infinity sign or sideways figure “8”
  • Perform for 1 minute
  • Then switch to the other side
  • Check out video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/n4otVeGtQj8

If you struggle with balance issues or recurrent falls, or are concerned you may be at risk of falling, contact Dr. PJ for a Physical Therapy evaluation. We are now offering telehealth PT sessions.  Contact us at 770-500-3848. You can learn more at www.onetherapy.com. You can email Dr. PJ at patricia@onetherapy.com.

Dr. Patricia Pruszynski, DPT (who goes by P.J.) has a passion for working with patients suffering from concussions and other dizziness/vestibular disorders such as vestibular neuritis/labyrinthitis, BPPV, Meniere’s, migraines, and small vessel strokes.  Dr. P.J. studied alongside experts in the field at the world-renowned Duke University’s course for management of dizziness and balance disorders. Her advanced training in manual medicine and trigger point dry needling compliment her specialization in vestibular rehabilitation, which allows her to take “a whole-body approach”. Dr. P.J. graduated summa cum laude from the University of Delaware with a Bachelors in Exercise Science and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Emory University. She has a background in dance, track, and soccer. When P.J. is not working with her patients, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying out new restaurants with her husband.