Stay in shape by improving your balance Stay in shape by improving your balance

With age and inactivity, lost skills can be recovered with specific exercises.

Jorge Iván Palacio, sports physician, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
Juan Camilo López , graduate in Physical Education

With age, the most common ailment in the body is that joints start to weaken and the body starts losing, in addition to strength, balance. In order to become stronger, it is common to incorporate proprioception exercises into workouts, which is the body’s ability to detect the movement and position of the muscles through receptors in the nervous system.

Juan Camilo López, who has a degree in Physical Education from the Universidad de Antioquia, highlights some routines for this, such as walking on unstable surfaces, postures on one foot with eyes closed for 30 seconds, or the use of balance boards that are a new and challenging alternative to maintain good balance. The latter is an exercise tool that has gained popularity in recent months because it also provides entertainment and does not require much space.

They are usually made of wood and resemble a miniature surfboard. They are placed on a tube or roller and the user must maintain their balance, not letting the edges of the board touch the floor. It can also be used to work on the core. According, to the Mayo Clinic, the core is the area that groups together the abdominal, lower back, pelvic, buttocks, and deep spine muscles, which are those responsible for the body’s stability.

To strengthen

Another characteristic that is lost over the years is muscle mass, and according to Jorge Iván Palacio, sports physician at the Clinica Las Américas’s Center for Obesity, Dysmetabolism, and Sports, that loss of mass is not recovered with aerobic-type workouts. “One of the parameters for setting up exercise programs is that they include strengthening work, which can be done with one’s own weight, elastic bands, or the help of dumbbells according to ability. They are formulated depending on the continuity that the person has had with physical activity in his life. Most studies include strengthening and cardio circuits,” the specialist says.

One factor to consider is muscle memory. For those who have been athletes all their lives, it will be easier for them to develop certain movements that they have repeated countless times before. This exercise load allows a certain muscle mass to develop, which peaks when people are at their height of sports performance during youth. “The amount of muscle mass lost is determined when you measure the percentage of muscle mass. Recovering it is the challenge,” says Palacio.

The general recommendation is to develop an individualized exercise plan to obtain better results. The same happens with supplements, which should only be taken by medical indication.

Faced with the loss of muscle mass, which is typical of aging, it is important to establish appropriate sports routines that provide wellbeing for the body, according to individual abilities and conditions.

Follow these basic exercises for balance boards

  • Sliding back and forth. When you manage to stay a few seconds on the board without losing your balance, try to move from side to side, unbalancing your body with the help of your legs and hips.
  •  Squats. Try lowering your center of gravity and touching the opposite foot with one hand. Try to do it in front of your legs and behind.
  • Planks. Ideal for working the core in a more efficient way. You can do the plank position by supporting your hands or elbows on the board or also placing your feet on the board.
  • Push-ups. This is a way to add difficulty to typical push-ups. The instability of the board will make the training more effective.