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As we move into another spring season, it's time to think green.  Not just the color green, but the amazing variety of edible foods, nature's raw foods, that offer a tremendous variety of nutrients for our health and well-being.  These critical nutrients act as cancer fighting agents, antioxidants, bone building vitamins, immune boosters, disease fighting agents and "super foods" that help you stay strong, healthy and lean. According to research provided by the American College of Sports Medicine, balance tends to decline with age due to loss of muscle strength, flexibility, proprioceptive awareness, inner ear issues and numerous other factors.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports have shown that nine percent of individuals 65 and older have difficulty with balance.  This, along with a decline in lower body strength and stability, leads to an alarming number of hospital admissions for fall-related injuries among older adults each year.  The good news is that balance can be improved with basic exercises and training props that can be used in the comfort of one's home or local fitness facility.

Men and women of all ages and levels of fitness should incorporate balance training into their exercise regime.  Even walking can increase strength, improve coordination and help maintain balance.  It's important, however, to starting with the basics, progress slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of exercise selection.  A basic exercise could be as simple as trying to balance on one foot while standing on a hard surface.  Progress to balancing with both feet on a soft pillow, disc or foam block, then lift one foot at a time off the selected balance prop.  Increase the difficulty by changing the direction of your gaze or hold a small ball with both hands while trying to maintain balance during the exercise selection.

When implementing a balance training program, there are also safety considerations to consider.  Balance training tools (balance discs, foam rollers, balance boards, stability balls, soft pillows, etc.) should only be used on a non-slip surface.  Be sure to consult with a physician prior to starting any new exercise programs.  Always practice balance training near a stable structure, such as a wall or hand rail, to offer assistance and help prevent falls.  Consider enlisting support and supervision with a qualified professional or practice balance exercises in the company of a loved one or family friend.  To reduce the risk of injury from falls, balance exercises should be performed on a daily basis.  If you engage in resistance training, complete the balance exercises first so that your muscles are not fatigued.

Select references for this blog came from an American College of Sports Medicine brochure created and updated by Jennifer Jens, B.S. and provided by the ACSM's Consumer Information Committee.  For more information, please contact Susan Iverson with Iverson Fitness and Wellness.


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Susan Iverson is very professional, personable and a hands on personal trainer and wellness coach. She is sincerely concerned about the well-being of her clients. She listens very attentively to her clients’ goals and aspirations and designs a plan specifically for them. Susan checks in with you on a regular basis so you stay motivated and accountable to your goals. I have made rapid weight loss progress on plans designed by Susan.
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