My client Sarah – 72 years old – was worried about her balance.
During our consultation, I noticed her step length was smaller than it should be, and she wasn’t rolling through her foot when she walked.
As we age, if we are not proactive, we will lose both bone and muscle strength, putting us at increased risk of falls.
How big do we want our steps? At least 3 times your shoe length. Put 3 of your shoes on the floor heel to toe. Line up your foot with the first shoe and see how far you step.
The smaller your steps the more risk you have of falling.
The more “flat footed” your steps, the more risk you have of falling. Why? This encourages you to take smaller steps. When you roll through your foot (heel to toe), you create propulsion that encourages you to take a bigger step.
DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR AGE AS A REASON YOU ARE TAKING SMALL STEPS!!
AGE IS NOT CORRELATED TO WEAKNESS! BEING DECONDITIONED IS CORRELATED TO WEAKNESS!
How do we fix this? Gait training alone will not help. You need to participate in resistance training.
Studies show that resistance training WILL help with balance – regardless of the type of training you do (machines, dumbbells, etc.). AND – 15 minutes 2-3 times a week is a great starting point.
HOW FAST CAN I SEE RESULTS?
In one training session! The caveat? You must be willing to be cognitively engaged every time you walk, focused on a bigger stride length. This is the way to create muscle memory and train it to become habit,
Sarah’s program includes strength training to increase her bone and muscle strength. I also added some gait training drills along with some homework for her between sessions!