Thursday, February 6, 2014

Aging with Balance

Today, on the eve of the Winter Olympics, I want to introduce you to someone in a sport that you would find in the Summer Olympics - gymnastics.

There are many gymnasts in the world, but my guess is, not too many of them are 88 years old.
We could all wish for physical abilities like this woman from Germany, rather than thinking about the physical decline that is all too common in the United States, striking most seniors - including my mother in law.
This seems to be more of how we expect our elders to be once they are in their 80's.   But Johanna Quaas shows us that there is another path we can take.

Johanna Quaas holds the Guinness Worlds Record for oldest gymnast.  And, if your choice of exercise is yoga, there is a 95 year old woman actively teaching (and practicing yoga) in a suburb of New York City. 

I shouldn't be surprised.  I had an elderly water aerobics instructor when I started water aerobics in the mid 1990's, and she was doing every one of the moves-from the deck of the pool. 

Aging is a scary thing.  Already, I see declines in my balance, and I am concerned enough to seek out solutions.  Right now there are some balance improvement programs in our area (Broome County, New York has some excellent senior programs) but all the programs I am aware of meet on weekdays, and I work full time, on weekdays.

I talked to one person involved in those programs, and she seemed puzzled by my request for an evening or weekend program.  "Yours is the first request for night classes which I've received", she told me last year.  So, I am going to have to make this a "do it myself" project.

I also have back issues, and mild scoliosis, and wonder what the best type of exercise would be for me.  I am not a flexible person-never have been.  I've never done yoga - or gymnastics, so am looking for something a little more beginner friendly for a 61 year old.  I love walking, and water zumba, but I need something more-a lot more - for my balance.

What, I wonder, is the best way to age with balance?


  1. "I've fallen, and I can't get up." - classic commercial.
    Still, very impressive gymnast above.

  2. I so admire older people who are athletic. It gets difficult as you age. I learned as series of specific movements from a physical therapist to do daily, plus a few more from a chiropractor. One thing he suggested is just sitting on an exercise ball and moving around a little on it. It really does seem to help my back and hips!

  3. In England, anyone with disability is issued with a call button. I've had one for years. We've only used it once. My husband called when I was stubbornly sticking to my bed with irregular heartbeat. A medical team arrived within minutes and summoned an ambulance. Wonderful service.
    Balance is a difficult problem. Sometimes it's associated with ears. I do morning exercises daily an, although I feel my movements are slower at 72 years, I maintain the stretch and bends. Like touching the toes either side ten times. I think one of my replacement hips is loosening. I feel unbalanced when I first stand. The thing to do is keep the muscles strong to support the joints. Hope you work out what is best for you.


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