May 20, 2016 By Lori Drew

Preserving Your Balance

As a fitness specialist here at PVE, I know maintaining good health and independence is a top priority for our residents. I’m proud to be a part of the team who helps to make that possible.

We offer a wide variety of fitness classes and personal training to accommodate just about every goal a resident might have to improve health, strength, endurance and balance. Good balance is the key to all exercise, activity and independent living so we incorporate balance training into every class and personal training session. One of our most exciting offerings is balance-specific training with the HUR iBalance System.

Each year one in three Americans age 65 and older falls, and falling is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among this age group. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways.

Why does our sense of balance degrade over time? There are several reasons. The balance mechanisms in the ears become less functional. Also, through aging and inactivity, the muscles and bones lose strength, causing weakness and delayed reaction time between the brain and underused stability muscles.

The good news is balance can be improved at any age through proper training and practice. The HUR iBalance System is a computerized posturography machine that enables our fitness specialists to screen, assess, test and train for balance disorders. The iBalance training consists of computerized games played on a video screen, whereby the trainee stands on a specially designed platform containing sensors to detect the slightest movements. Only the lower body and core stability muscles are used to manipulate images on the screen, scoring the most ‘points’ when the movements are done correctly.

The iBalance games work to improve balance by providing biofeedback to stimulate neuropathways to re-educate motor control and muscle memory and by developing ankle strength and stability. Once a resident is assessed and determined to have a need to improve, a fitness specialist will prepare a program specific to the areas of balance weakness.

The practitioners can adjust the difficulty of the computer balance games up or down, as needed, to offer the appropriate challenges to the trainee. Through the customized program, we can monitor progress. In addition to improving balance and brain function, the training sessions are also fun!


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