Balance should never be taken for granted past 40 years of age; it must be maintained — both in mind and body. Did you know that poor posture is a warning sign of Alzheimer’s? Poor posture also weakens your immune system and leads to falls – which can be fatal.
If you've ever seen a friend or family member fall and suffer a major fracture, you know it's serious business. It seems obvious that general physical fitness and targeted exercises can improve balance and prevent falls. But you might be surprised to learn that staying physically fit helps to maintain your mental focus. That includes memory, mood and mind power.
4 WAYS A FIT BODY STRENGTHENS YOUR MIND
Taking steps to improve the health of your blood vessels involves lifestyle changes that increase your circulation. Since brain changes can start decades before dementia symptoms appear, the earlier you begin preserving your vascular health, the better for your brain.
Improving blood vessel health helps you avoid stroke, heart attack, and other serious diseases.
It's been estimated that one in three cases of dementia is preventable. While you can’t do anything to reverse the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, you can do something about hypertension and vascular disease risk factors. Therefore, improving your circulation reduces your risk of dementia. (Source Hopkins Medicine).
Having a healthy circulation improves your immune system. Breathing exercises and cardio exercises help your immune system get strong. You don’t have to do high-impact aerobics to have a strong immune system! Chair exercises and low impact moves are very effective when done correctly.
BRAIN/BODY BALANCE CONNECTION
How do we keep our balance? While your inner ear is an important part of your balance, so is your brain, because it relays the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. And, of course, vision tips you off to obstacles around you. The brain takes in all this information, plans our movements, and carries them out. Balance is a complex system, and as you age, cognition becomes a big part of it. Keeping both your mind and body fit keeps you mentally sharp and helps to provide good posture which prevents falls and increases your immune system. When you walk with good posture your spine is properly aligned which helps your breathing muscles and this helps your circulation work better which improves your immune system.
A bonus to having good posture: when you maintain good posture in sitting and standing, you help take pressure off your joints which helps with pain relief in your spine. That means you can alleviate pain in your neck, shoulders, back, hips and knees. That’s why doctors often refer patients to physical therapy before recommending surgery.
You need a strong body to have good posture so that’s where specific exercises come into play.
Postural control exercises improve balance because they emphasize being aware of your body’s position in space which helps keep you from having a fall. Postural control exercises have also been known to reduce the need for an assistive device such as a cane.
When Mrs. Lake initially began Suzanne Andrews Functional Fitness program, she had to walk with a cane and had great difficulty getting up from a chair. This is what happened after 8 weeks of participation…
Maintaining mental fitness and remaining physically active helps you keep your balance and avoid stumbling. But if you do lose your balance, recovering requires muscle power. Power is the ability to exert force quickly. Specific exercises for balance, bones strength, posture, and brainpower are not only valuable but crucial for good health and keeping seniors in their home. Assisted living facilities cost $6000.00 plus a month now! Investing in your health through exercise is less costly (by a long shot) and keeps you in your own home. Having worked in nursing homes since 2006 I can tell you that is the last place you want to end up in!
So often going to a nursing home can be prevented. I have treated many patients who were in great despair because they thought they would never end up in a nursing home. Make preventative exercises part of your plan to stay young, healthy, and in your home.