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Layin’ It on the Line: The importance of working on balance for retirees

By Lyle Boss - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jun 5, 2024

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Lyle Boss

It might seem silly. Why would I write about balance in a financial column? Simple. Recently, I had a serious operation and recovering has been difficult. Keeping my balance was a core reason for recovering. Just like you need balance in your portfolio, you also need balance in your physical life.

Working on balance is critically important for retirees to maintain physical health, prevent falls and preserve independence during the retirement years. As individuals age, changes in strength, flexibility and coordination can affect balance, increasing the risk of falls and related injuries. Implementing balance exercises and activities can significantly improve stability and reduce the likelihood of accidents, enabling retirees to enjoy an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

One key reason why working on balance is essential for retirees is fall prevention. Falls are a common and serious concern among older adults, often leading to injuries such as fractures, head trauma and mobility limitations. Improving balance through targeted exercises helps strengthen muscles, enhance coordination and increase proprioception (awareness of body position), reducing the risk of falls and enhancing overall safety.

Furthermore, working on balance contributes to maintaining mobility and functional independence in retirement. Retirees who prioritize balance training are better equipped to perform daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs with ease and confidence. By improving balance, retirees can preserve their ability to live independently and engage in activities they enjoy throughout their retirement years.

Moreover, balance exercises support overall physical fitness and well-being in retirement. A strong sense of balance enhances core stability, posture, and body control, which can improve overall movement efficiency and reduce strain on joints and muscles. Retirees who incorporate balance training into their fitness routine may experience better overall strength, flexibility and endurance, supporting an active and healthy lifestyle.

Another important aspect of working on balance is its impact on reducing the risk of chronic conditions and health issues associated with aging. Balance exercises can help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis and back pain by promoting bone density, joint flexibility and spinal alignment. Additionally, maintaining good balance supports cardiovascular health, cognitive function and mental well-being in retirement.

Additionally, working on balance contributes to fall recovery and injury rehabilitation among retirees. In the event of a fall or injury, individuals with strong balance skills are more likely to recover quickly and regain mobility compared to those with poor balance. Balance exercises can facilitate recovery, enhance confidence and reduce fear of falling, promoting a faster return to normal activities and lifestyle.

It’s important for retirees to incorporate a variety of balance exercises into their fitness routine to target different muscle groups and enhance overall stability. Some effective balance exercises for retirees include:

1. Standing on one leg: Stand on one leg while holding onto a stable surface for support if needed, then switch legs. This exercise improves leg strength and balance.

2. Heel-to-toe walk: Walk in a straight line placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot. This exercise enhances coordination and balance.

3. Tai chi or yoga: Participate in tai chi or yoga classes that emphasize balance, flexibility and mindfulness. These practices promote overall body awareness and stability.

4. Balance board or stability ball exercises: Use balance boards or stability balls to challenge balance and core strength through controlled movements.

5. Water aerobics: Take water aerobics classes or perform exercises in a pool, which provide low-impact resistance and support while improving balance and mobility.

In conclusion, working on balance is crucial for retirees to maintain physical health, prevent falls and support functional independence during retirement. By incorporating balance exercises into their fitness routine and lifestyle, retirees can improve stability, reduce the risk of injuries, enhance overall mobility, and enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement with confidence and vitality. Prioritizing balance training is an investment in long-term health and well-being, enabling retirees to age gracefully and maintain a high quality of life throughout their retirement years.

Lyle Boss, a native Utahn, is a member of Syndicated Columnists, a national organization committed to a fully transparent approach to money management. Boss Financial, 955 Chambers St., Suite 250, Ogden, UT 84403. Telephone: 801-475-9400.


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