Dr. Michael O’Leary discusses how women can improve their balance.
You know, a balance is a system that you really want working all through your life. So, start early and really work well with it. So here are a couple of tips that you could do.
Balance is really a function of core strength, and particularly if you are not an exercising animal or a great athlete or something, really focusing on core makes a huge difference in your balance.
We have done great studies now on patients where we have balance therapy in the older patients who are falling and fracturing their hip. It turns out the amount of money and also the morbidity and mortality that occur with the hip fracture are unbelievable.
But we can take 90-year-old women who have osteoporosis, thin bones, can’t afford to fall, and actually working with them on a series of generalized balanced training, which is not just strengthening exercises, but using the eyes as part of the system of balance and retraining the brain actually on how to navigate the world, avoid the falls, and the data is very impressive. It’s slow. It’s like a glacier. You don’t notice the difference day-to-day, but if we measure the beginning of a year and at the end, different world.
So the neat thing is our brain is really very plastic, we call it, meaning it continues to learn throughout our entire life. Old thinking used to be boy, by the time you are 21 everything is hardwired–not true. At any age the brain is still a remarkable organ; it learns to redo things.
So, number one is, if you are having any trouble with balance, find a place that does good balance therapy. Learn to do this. You don’t go to the place a lot; it’s mostly stuff you do at home, but it really, really works.
Second concept is, just in general physical conditioning, really concentrate on the core. So there’s some exercises that you can do are really innocent, but really have a profound effect.
If you are standing in line at the supermarket, if you are waiting at the bank to go make a deposit or withdrawal, take advantage of stepping on each foot and hold the other one off the ground for 30 seconds.
If you’ve got a long line, you’ll be surprised how much you really feel the difference internally by doing that and that’s a great exercise. Waiting at airports and things this can be done as well.
The second one is really take good care of your ears. The ears are a big part of this gyroscope, and by being careful with the ears and not treating them the wrong way, you can actually keep that gyroscope a very active component of keeping you healthy and well balanced through your life.
And probably the third thing I would say is, if you are having trouble that seems out of line for your age group, don’t try and take this on yourself; it’s too big a sense. Get to a place that specializes in balance, have someone make a diagnosis and find out what’s wrong because even though it may seem innocent, this is a complaint people very rarely have. It’s a hidden sense and if you are aware of your balance, something is likely wrong if it’s at an early age.
About Dr. O'Leary, M.D.:
As a neurotologist, Dr. Michael O'Leary specializes in diseases of the ear and balance, treating all aspects of ear problems, both medical and surgical. Among his unique areas of expertise in the ears are correction of surfer’s ears (exostosis), stapes surgery and repair of chronic mastoidectomy defects. His role on the skull-base team focuses on tumors of the lateral skull base, such as acoustic neuromas and meningiomas. He is also a nationally recognized leader in the development of minimally invasive techniques, including the endoscopic removal of pituitary tumors.