Activities To Improve Balance

It’s perfectly natural to feel a little less sure-footed in your golden years. In fact, nearly 40% of older adults are affected by balance difficulties. The great news is that there are things you can do to improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling. Here are simple activities that will help strengthen the muscles responsible for good balance. Give one or more a try every day for a few weeks and see firsthand how they can help you get your steadiness back.

Rock the Boat

If you’re a little rebellious and like to rock the boat, do this exercise to keep yourself steady while you do.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  2. Concentrate on pressing your weight equally into both feet.

  3. Carefully shift your weight to your left foot and use a controlled motion to extend your right foot out in front of you. You don’t have to lift your leg high.

  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

  5. Lower your right leg slowly back to the floor and repeat the actions on the other side (shifting your weight to your right foot and lifting your left foot in front of you).

Repeat this exercise five to 10 times on each leg.

Tightrope Walk

Have you always longed to walk on a tightrope? Now’s your chance! Here’s how to perform this safe and easy balance exercise.

  1. Place a piece of masking tape (5-6 feet long) on the ground.

  2. Stand at one edge of the masking tape and hold your arms out to the sides.

  3. Walk along the center of the masking tape until you reach the other side.

You can turn around and repeat this process until you feel pretty confident in your balancing abilities.

Heel-Toe Walking

This exercise is great if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Place a string or long strip of tape on the floor.

  2. Hold your arms out to the sides while you stand on one end of the string or tape.

  3. Walk in a straight line across the string or tape, placing the back of your heel against your opposite toes with each step you take.

  4. Move slowly! Heel-toe walking can be trickier than you expect.

You can continue this activity for 20 steps or more. It should start to get easier over time.

Flamingo Stand

You’ll need a chair to perform this great balancing exercise.

  1. Using a chair for support, stand with your weight on your left leg.

  2. Slowly lift your right leg in front of you, bending at the knee.

  3. Tighten your core muscles and stand tall as you bring your leg up.

  4. Hold your leg up for 5-15 seconds before slowly bringing it back down.

  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

You can do this exercise 5-10 times on each side. Perform it daily for optimum balance-improving results.

Side-Stepping

Remember the old days when you used to do the touch-step, rock step across the dance floor? You can work similar balance muscles by performing this fun and easy side-stepping move in the comfort of your own home.

  1. Stand with your feet close together.

  2. Step sideways with your right foot, while lifting your leg high (as if you’re stepping over something on the floor).

  3. Lift your left foot and bring it next to your right foot.

  4. Continue side-stepping until you reach the other side of the room.

To make sure you work both sides of your body evenly, repeat this process while leading with your left foot.

These exercises are simple enough for anyone to complete, and they’re safe to do at home. If you do them consistently, you’ll lower your risk of falls and related injuries. Learn more about how to stay healthy while you age here.

How To Reduce The Appearance Of Stretch Marks

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, been pregnant or gone through a rapid growth spurt, you probably have stretch marks. In fact, it’s estimated that 80 percent of all people have stretch marks, though women are more likely to get them than men.

Those little pink, white or purple lines that stretch across various body parts are the subject of much angst. In an effort to live peacefully with them, multiple campaigns have been created to urge people—particularly women—to embrace their stretch marks as beautiful designs rather than flaws.

Though it’s important to love and appreciate your body no matter what it looks like, you may still wish to at least minimize the appearance of your stretch marks. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve the way you look, as long as your goals are safe and attainable. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce the appearance of stretch marks without undergoing major surgery or other invasive procedures. Here’s how.

How Stretch Marks Appear

Before you take steps to minimize your stretch marks, you should understand how they form. Stretch marks are actually scars that develop when the skin stretches rapidly. They can also develop when the skin shrinks abruptly. Changes in skin tautness occur when the elastin and collagen in the skin rupture. As they heal, stretch marks form.

Once they form, stretch marks are usually permanent. However, they do tend to fade over time. If you leave them alone, they can take years to fade to the point where they are no longer very obvious. If you want to speed up that process, here are some things you can do to help stretch marks fade more quickly.

Apply Stretch Mark Creams and Lotions

While research shows mixed results when it comes to stretch mark creams and lotions, researchers say that some products can help minimize scarring. However, they must be applied every day for several weeks before results appear. You should also take time to carefully massage stretch mark products into your skin to maximize their effectiveness.

Avoid Tanning Beds

It’s already a well-known fact that tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer. It turns out they can also make your stretch marks much more noticeable. That’s because stretch marks don’t tan as readily as the rest of your skin. So each time you get in a tanning bed, you increase the visibility of your stretch marks while putting yourself at increased risk of skin cancer. Avoid both scenarios by staying away from tanning beds.

Apply a Self-Tanner

Although tanning beds can make your stretch marks stand out even more, self-tanner can do the opposite. Self-tanner won’t get rid of stretch marks, but it can help camouflage them so they blend in better with the rest of your skin.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Some foods are known to help the body increase its own production of elastin and collagen. Leafy greens and brightly-colored fruits and vegetables are particularly helpful for increasing elastin and collagen and contributing to healthy skin that stretches and springs back more readily. If your diet is rich in these types of foods, you may be able to minimize the appearance of future stretch marks.

Dermatology Procedures

There are a variety of procedures dermatologists use to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. Some of these include:

  • Radiofrequency
  • Chemical peels
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Ultrasounds
  • Laser therapy

For optimal results, your dermatologist may recommend multiple therapies in combination. It’s important to have realistic expectations and understand that there is no known therapy that can completely remove stretch marks.

Whether you have new, brightly colored stretch marks or yours have faded over time, these techniques can help them fade even further. Try one or all of them today and within weeks you could start seeing positive results.

Easy Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

lower blood pressure

Did you know nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension? In 2017 alone, hypertension was listed as a primary or contributing cause for just under half a million U.S. deaths. These shocking statistics show how prevalent high blood pressure is, and how important it is to get it under control.

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