There are times when feeling off-balance may be a good thing. Take it from the experts.
Although there are some changes you can't avoid as you get older, including deterioration of hearing, vision and coordination, research suggests it's worth taking steps – even risking a few missteps – to slow the decline in your balance.
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Loss of balance makes us vulnerable to falls, which can be dangerous at any age but is the fifth-leading cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC offers recommendations to prevent falls, including exercising regularly to maintain muscle and getting enough vitamin D and calcium to preserve bone strength.
But a growing number of physicians and physical therapists go further, advocating exercises designed to challenge the complex system of reflexes that governs our stability.
And, as Roger Yasin, a personal trainer in Arlington, Va., puts it: Younger people should start doing these exercises.
Yasin said many of his clients are surprised to find out how their balance declines over time, and they often underestimate how important balance is to navigating the hazards in daily life, from escalators to uneven sidewalks.
Yasin and others recommend including balance exercises in your workout routine.