If you are getting older and starting to suffer from balance problems, you might find the following useful.
A year ago I was starting to have pronounced balance issues. Walking up or down stairs I had to hold onto handrails. Walking up or down steep hills was an issue. Getting on a ladder? Forget it. Even just getting up from a sitting or prone position on my sofa I had to hold onto something to get up.
I mentioned this to my doctor and he ordered some tests, which all came back normal.
The verdict? I’m just getting older. I also never exercised. My doc told me, more or less, “If you don’t use it, you lose it. And you’re likely just too sedentary for someone your age.”
I have enough friends in my age cohort (and older) to have heard too many stories of how balance issues affect your quality of life. They also heighten your chances of falling and breaking a bone, which can cause its own issues in the future.
I used to belong to a gym, but after Covid struck and I was at my gym (masked) I began noticing that when someone was working out near me and the sun was streaking through the windows and hitting them just so, every bit of exertion, every cough, every sneeze, would send a shower of sun-drenched droplets into the air.
My gym was also very bad about enforcing masks and social distancing.
So I quit. That lack of exercise contributed to my balance issues. But I’m still not comfortable going back to a gym.
So I bought a treadmill.
It was tough at first. I had no energy for it. I got winded easily. And I had to hold onto the handrails otherwise I would fall.
A year later I still don’t run on it. I don’t even do what could be called a “jog.” I’m not training for a 10K.
But I do try to use it at least 40 minutes a day, five times a week. I go at a fast walk (3.5 on the speed setting) using one of the programs that varies the incline up and down a few times. I’m up to about 2-to- 2.5 miles a day while getting my heart rate up to the zone appropriate for my age.
My balance issues have cleared up completely.
I feel much better, too. My mind seems clearer. I sleep better. I have more energy during the day.
And, hopefully, I’m helping to lessen my chances for developing dementia in later life. (See this documentary on PBS for more information on that.)
Anyway, I bring all this up because today I was up on a ladder outside doing repairs on my gutters, and had no issues whatsoever going up and down the ladder. I would have never considered this a year ago.
Certainly some days I really don’t feel like getting on that treadmill. But I think of all the benefits I’ve gotten so far, and I end up doing it with a nod to my future.
BTW I did buy a cheap tablet notebook that I use to watch videos I really enjoy while passing time that would otherwise be terribly boring for me while running.