Josée Lavigueur's Space
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Work on your balance

We often talk about the importance of a balanced lifestyle. Nothing could be truer. But our physical balance is also vital! It’s essential for dancers and circus performers, but it’s also important for you and me.

Improving or maintaining your balance as well as the endurance of your muscle stabilizers could well save your life, or at least prolong it. Falling and sustaining a nasty fracture is all too common and needs to be taken seriously. Strengthening our bodies to prevent injury is incredibly important. It’s easy to do and, more importantly, it improves our quality of life.

Controlling bone density

Women in particular need to pay close attention to their muscle stabilizers, since women tend to lose more bone mass than men. Osteoporosis looms over us: bones become more porous and weaker as we age and, all too often, this problem only comes to light on an x-ray after a fall. But a targeted exercise program can help to control bone density. We can’t increase the strength or solidity of our bones, but we can maintain what we have and protect ourselves. Muscle training increases bone density and joint strength (which prevents fractures), and working on balance helps to prevent falls.

Striking that balance!

Fitness experts have always said that there are three main components to a good workout: cardio, muscle strengthening and flexibility. But there’s a fourth: developing balance. Working on balance is the missing ingredient in most training programs, regardless of age. Skills such as coordination and balance decrease with age, but also, and especially, due to inactivity. Practical exercises on a regular basis can make a big difference and render body awareness more natural and spontaneous.

I recommend that you integrate the following yoga exercise into your routine: the tree pose. Assume this position as often as possible. Make sure to place your foot below or above the knee, but not on it. Maintain the position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each side. Transferring all your weight onto the supporting leg helps to keep the spinal cord straight. This exercise develops and tones the thoracic cage and has a positive effect on the central nervous system. This posture also develops leg muscles and strengthens the thighs and ankles, while heightening body awareness.

Some troubling statistics

  • 66% of people aged 65 or over fall at least once a year.
  • 50% of these people sustain a hip fracture and cannot walk on their own as a result.
  • Roughly 20% of people who sustain a hip fracture die in the following year, due to complications. In Canada, there are some 30 000 hip fractures a year.