adults. We need good balance to do just
about everything physical, including
walking, getting out of a chair and
bending over to tie our shoes.
Some people can naturally balance
well. For others, the complicated
communication between our senses,
muscles and skeleton—even part of the
inner ear—isn’t so seamless.
Aging, however, doesn’t actually cause
imbalance and falls, says Curtis.
But certain medications can. So can
reduced vision, hearing issues, delayed
reaction times and neuropathy—nerve
sensation—in the soles of our feet.
The good news for people, both young
and old, is that we can maintain and
increase our ability to balance as we age.
We just have to work at it.
“It’s never too early to work on
balance, and it’s never too late,” Curtis
says. “The biggest thing is to keep
moving. Balance can be improved
by being active every day and
participating in a variety of activities
such as yoga, tai chi and resistance
She says the most effective balance-
building movements involve moving
your centre of gravity and building
lower body strength.
She also recommends checking out
activities at your local seniors centre
and talking to your healthcare provider
for strategies to help you keep your
A few simple exercises can
help prevent falls, the leading
cause of injury in Canada
WRITTEN BY ANNE GEORG
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL INTERISANO
Ann Poole and her grandson Will Geier practise balancing exercises at Ann's home in Calgary.
Good balance can help prevent falls at any age.
It’s never too early
to work on balance,
and it’s never too late
You stand on your tiptoes. Then you turn
right and stretch your arms to reach an
upper cupboard. You’re balancing.
This fundamental physical function
is the difference between leaning too far
and losing your footing. It’s about how
your body adjusts to keep you from
According to Alberta Health Services,
falls accounted for 46 per cent of injury-
related hospital admissions in the
province in 2017. “The leading cause
of emergency room visits is injury,”
says Teresa Curtis, health promotion
facilitator with the Provincial Injury
Prevention Program. “Falls are the
leading cause of injury.”
Good balance, however, can help
prevent falls and, along the way, ensure
we live active and healthy lives.
We all need to pay attention to stay
steady on our feet, particularly as older