Staying healthy and avoiding some of the pitfalls of getting older can be as simple as making sure that you maintain your balance and strength.
Leg strength is only part of the equation. Balance and grip strength are also important, according to fitness expert Doug Quinlivan. He is a trainer at Ascent Fitness in Denver.
“A lot of falls that happen are a result of a combination of leg strength; poor leg strength; and lack of balance.” The good news is that Doug said it is never too late to start and you can get your balance back.
Doug suggests starting with simple weight transfers. Pick up a leg and hold it in the air for a few seconds. Try front and back.
“You’d be surprised, if you start doing this on a regular basis, within a few days your balance will improve dramatically,” said Doug.
A BOSU Ball is also a great way to improve your balance. Since it’s not stable, Doug said you’ll really have to engage a variety of muscles to stand on it. Try stepping onto the BOSU and holding for a few seconds.
If you want to add a cardio element, you can jog on and off of it, just be sure to change your lead leg.
Since BOSU stands for “Both Sides Up,” flip it over and try balancing on the other side. That will activate your core. Then, when you’re ready, try a squat on the BOSU.
Finally, to increase your grip strength grab a set of dumbbells.
"Let your fingers extend, let the weight roll all the way down to your fingertips and then curl your fingertips in, grip the weight and then roll your hands in,” Doug said.
He said you should feel this exercise pretty quickly and it will really help when it comes time to open a jar or pick something up.
If you have a question for Doug, email AskTheTrainer@KWGN.com