Simple Tricks to Improve Balance and Coordination Newsletter

Simple Tricks to Improve Balance and Coordination

Balance and coordination can be tricky at times. One moment you’re standing straight up and the next you’re finding it difficult to stay upright and on your feet. Falls and related injuries account for hundreds of thousands of ER visits every single year and are one of the most common reasons for trips to the hospital alongside motor vehicle crashes and opioid overdoses.

Balance and coordination play a key role in our ability to stay healthy. Take a look at some simple tricks to improve balance and coordination and see how physical therapy can help you stay upright and on your feet.

Why Balance and Coordination Are Important

Balance and coordination play a key role in our ability to stay active and steady while doing the things we love most. Balance and coordination issues can stem from a variety of causes as our ability to remain balanced is a complex process that requires proper coordination between our body, brain, and several primary systems. Our bodies use a tandem of systems based on signals from joints, muscles, and vestibular organs within the inner ear that are all then sent to the brain to process and relay information to the rest of the body to help coordinate movement and keep you upright.

A deficit in the balance system due to an underlying illness, injury, or the natural aging process can cause disruptions to your balance and coordination. Comprehensive evaluation and assessment should be conducted by a qualified healthcare professional or physical therapist who can work with you to identify the underlying cause of your balance and coordination issues to help you improve your ability to stay upright and on your feet.

Your balance system plays an important role in not only your ability to perform everyday activities, but also your ability to perform at your best in athletic endeavors. Improving your balance and coordination is not only important for aging adults but for individuals of all ages.

6 Simple Tricks to Improve Balance and Coordination

Staying upright and steady on your feet is important, which is why you should seek to improve your balance and coordination to reduce the risk for injury and improve your athletic performance. Before beginning any type of exercise or stretching routine, you should take the time to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can screen for any risk of falling and also work with you to evaluate the root cause of your balance and coordination issues.

Take a look at several simple tricks you can do to improve your balance and coordination.

Work with a Physical Therapist

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for individuals who currently experience balance and coordination issues. Your physical therapist will work with you to identify balance or coordination issues and evaluate your ability to perform everyday activities. Through a comprehensive evaluation, your physical therapist will check for coordination, balance ability, evaluate your symptoms, and will screen for any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to your inability to remain steady on your feet.

Once your physical therapist has performed a comprehensive evaluation, your PT will work with you to develop and implement a treatment program that is tailored to your unique needs and goals and is designed to help you improve your balance and coordination.

Your physical therapist can also screen you for risk of falls and provide strategies for your home such as the use of night lights and removal of throw rugs to help you if you notice poor balance at home. A physical therapy consultation is a great way to improve balance before it becomes a problem.

Use a Walking Aid

Walking aids or canes may help to provide additional stability and support in the interim as you work to improve your balance and coordination. Using a walking aid can be a simple trick to provide a little bit of extra footing and support and may even be used during the course of your treatment to help you exercise and improve your natural balance ability. The use of a walking aid can be a temporary solution as you work to improve your balance and coordination throughout the course of treatment. Your physical therapist can teach you how to correctly use a walking aid such as a cane or walker.

Find a Focus Point

Dizziness can contribute to the feeling of losing one’s balance and poor coordination. If you find that the room feels like it’s spinning or you’re unsteady, you may find it difficult to stay on your feet. One effective way to reduce the sensation that the room is spinning is to find a focus point. Focusing on one point as you walk may help you reduce that dizzying sensation and help keep you steady. If you are having feelings of dizziness, you should seek the advice of a medical professional to determine the underlying cause.

Maintain an Active Lifestyle

One of the best ways to improve your balance and coordination is to make sure that you remain active. Maintaining an active lifestyle and ensuring that you implement balance and coordination exercises and stretches into your routine can help to not only improve your balance and coordination, but it can reduce the likelihood that you lose the ability to remain steady on your feet.

Improve Your Footwear

One of the hidden culprits that may cause you to lose your balance and coordination ability is the footwear you’re wearing. There is no shortage of different types of footwear, and they can all play a factor in your ability to remain steady on your feet and give you adequate support as you make subtle adjustments as you move or shift to keep your balance.

Footwear can also have an impact on older individuals based on the size of the heel. One research study, which evaluated postural sway, balance range, and stability based on the shoe sole type and heel height found that older individuals experienced significantly impaired balance with heel heights of only 4.5 cm in height. Shoes that are stable and have a flat sole and not a rocker bottom or curved on the heels and toes are best to maintain balance.

Make sure that you’re selecting footwear that will provide adequate support, help keep you steady as you walk, is the correct footwear for the type of surface you will be on, and is the correct shoe type for the activity you’ll be performing.

Implement Balance and Coordination Exercises Into Your Routine

Balance and coordination exercises can be an effective technique to improve your ability to remain steady and coordinated on your feet. The balance system in your body needs to be developed and strengthened over time, just like any other system. Implementing a few balance and coordination stretches and exercises into your routine can help you strengthen muscle groups that play a key role in your body’s ability to stay steady on its feet including your core, back, and legs.

Balance and coordination stretches and exercises can be a fun way to get active and improve your ability to remain steady on your feet. One of the great things about adding balance and coordination exercises to your routine is that you can adjust the difficulty and duration based on your unique needs and goals alongside the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional or physical therapist.

Before beginning any type of exercise or stretching routine you should consult with a qualified healthcare professional or physical therapist who can evaluate and educate you on the proper ways to perform the stretches and exercises.

Improve Your Balance and Coordination with Physical Therapy

Balance and coordination play a key role in helping you stay on your feet and avoid falls and related injuries. Fall prevention is an important aspect for all individuals and improving one’s balance can help keep them active and boost their confidence in their ability to perform everyday activities. Our licensed and trained physical therapists are movement experts who can work with you to evaluate and identify the underlying cause of your balance and coordination issues to develop a comprehensive treatment program to help you remain steady on your feet and improve your balance and coordination.

Schedule an appointment at one of our physical therapy clinics to see how physical therapy can help you improve your balance and coordination.

 

  1. Menant JC;Steele JR;Menz HB;Munro BJ;Lord SR; “Effects of Footwear Features on Balance and Stepping in Older People.” Gerontology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18253023/.
  2. “Balance Problems.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 June 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/balance-problems/symptoms-causes/syc-20350474.
  3. Admin. “The Human Balance System.” VeDA, 21 May 2021, https://vestibular.org/article/what-is-vestibular/the-human-balance-system/the-human-balance-system-how-do-we-maintain-our-balance/.
  4. “Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations for Selected Nonfatal Injuries among Adults Aged ≥65 Years – United States, 2018.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 May 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7018a1.htm#:~:text=What%20is%20added%20by%20this,%3E90%25%20of%20these%20visits.