How to Maintain Your Physical Balance for a Lifetime

The best ways to maintain a good sense of physical balance for the long-term is by working on building great balance while you are still healthy and by preventing the worst culprit in throwing off your body’s equilibrium – a stroke.

Building balance 

Building up your balance to a degree that is even better than where it is right now is a good way to have some 'insurance' in case you ever develop a medical problem that interferes with your sense of equilibrium down the road, such as a stroke.

Exercises like yoga are known for building balance. But other activities such as bike riding, running, and lifting light weights build your sense of stability, too.

You can even add some balance-building tricks to your regular daily routine. Standing with one foot flat on the floor and your other foot leaning against your supporting leg while talking on the phone, looking at your computer, watching TV or even preparing snacks can sneak some balance-building activity into your day without taking up extra time.

Preventing loss of balance 

One of the most common problems after a stroke is a sense of feeling physically unstable. A stroke is known for causing weakness of the face, arms or legs. Losing balance and stability are more subtle consequences of stroke.

When you feel unsteady after a stroke, that sensation isn't necessarily a consistent problem all the time. The sense of instability after a stroke may come and go throughout the day.

The reason that a sense of unsteadiness fluctuates so much after a stroke is that balance and equilibrium require the brain and the rest of your body to work well together. If you become a little dehydrated, the combination of dehydration and a small stroke can make you feel off-balance enough to fall.

If you are a little low on iron and become even mildly anemic, the anemia compounded with a previous stroke can cause you to pass out. So, after a stroke, the ‘little things’ become intermingled with the stroke deficit so that even little health problems are a big deal.

What kinds of strokes cause balance problems?

Any and all strokes cause balance problems. Small strokes, large strokes, ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes all cause a sense of dizziness or wooziness or wobbliness. That is because your whole brain needs to work together to keep you steady. Any small disruption of those complex connections can make you prone to unsteadiness after a stroke.

How to prevent a stroke?

Preventing a stroke is the most effective way of building and maintaining your optimal sense of balance throughout your life.

The first step in stroke prevention is finding out if you are already at risk of stroke and taking the steps to reverse your risk factors. If you aren't at risk of stroke, you can prevent yourself from developing stroke risk factors by keeping your fat and cholesterol levels optimal, eating right, exercising and avoiding a stressful overall outlook on life.

What is the point of a good sense of balance?

We don't always think about a sense of physical balance as important, but feeling unsteady keeps adults from enjoying simple, pleasant things like hiking, walks and sight seeing. Unsteadiness can lead to tripping, falls, bruises, broken bones, and serious injuries. A sense of physical instability is disruptive and may even be dangerous, so it is a worthwhile investment to build your balance now. If you have already had a stroke, here are some safe and easy ways to rebuild your sense of balance.


Relationship between asymmetry of quiet standing balance control and walking post-stroke, Hendrickson J, Patterson KK, Inness EL, McIlroy WE, Mansfield A, Gait Posture, January 2014

Continue Reading