leg liftHave you ever felt dizzy, lightheaded, or even thought the room was spinning around you? It can be troublesome and, if it happens often, it could be a sign of a balance problem.

Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving or remaining still. If you have balance you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, climb stairs without tripping.

Balance disorders are one reason older people fall. Fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person’s life. A fall could limit activities or make it impossible to live independently. Many people become more isolated after a fall.

Here is an exercise you can try that can help improve your balance. Be sure to use a sturdy chair or a person nearby to hold on to if you feel unsteady. Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about doing particular exercises.

Place both hands on the back of the chair. Stand on one foot behind the sturdy chair, holding on with both hands for balance. Hold position for 10 seconds. Repeat 10—15 times. Repeat with the other leg. As your strength grows and you feel more confident, you may be able to hold onto the chair with one hand. As you feel steady, try using just one finger to balance you. Then try balancing without holding on.

Source: National Institute on Aging and NIH Senior Health.