Balance training prolongs life, says tai chi trainer George Locker, author of "Falling Is Not an Option."
As Locker told The Guardian in an interview, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die each year as a result of injuries from falls, and most of them are elderly people who cannot keep their balance. This causes them to become fearful of physical activity, and they become even weaker and lose their body control skills.
Loss of balance begins at age 45. Preventing loss of balance should be done as early as this age.
Physical therapist Anna Lowe added that at a mature age women become less mobile than men. Therefore, they need to be more active, such as walking the dog off-road or doing wide lunges while walking.
According to Locker, one of the best ways to develop balance is tai chi, which is enjoyed by about 50 million people in China and more than 150 million people in other countries. Practicing tai chi doesn't tire you out, but it helps you develop your coordination skills.
Studies have shown that as little as eight weeks of practice helps older people learn to keep their balance and not be afraid of falling. The most effective exercises are those performed on one bent leg. According to Locker, older people are usually advised to brush their teeth while standing on one slightly bent leg to strengthen their balance and train the muscles to support their lower body.
Just 15 minutes of practice a day can be beneficial, but if possible, you should practice longer. The key is to start developing balance skills before you start having problems with it. Weight-bearing exercises, such as lifting weights or backpacking, are good for your health. They can be used to develop muscles, increase bone density, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Everyone is advised to save for old age, but no one is taught how to keep a balance. But both are hard to get back, if lost, Locker concluded.