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February 2018 - Just like exercising at the gym keeps your muscles staying strong, you can exercise your balance and it is very important to start doing that. Losing the ability to balance leads to accidents and falls- broken bones and knocks to the head that can be devastating. It only takes about 10 minutes a week to tune up your balance. Do more if you have the time but that is all you need. My great team in Terrell kindly agreed to demonstrate some of the exercises that I do.

Before you do any of these on your own, do them first holding on to a straight back chair like Kaitlyn is doing or have someone to hold on to for balance. Only if you can do that easily should you try them without support. Also, do all the exercises first with your eyes open before you try with your eyes closed. I don't want you falling while you practice your balance! Your balance will get better if you practice even with your eyes open and holding on to something.

Kaitlyn demonstrates what I do to warm-up. With your eyes open stand on one leg and lean forward to touch the floor. 10 times on each side

Try walking a straight line heel to toe like Megan is doing. Do this with your eyes open and following a line on the floor or put down a piece of tape

Play catch with a ball while standing on one leg like Veronica and Debra

Stand still with one foot directly in front of the other. Try it first with your eyes open and if good at that, close your eyes like Veronica is doing.

Hardest for me, stand on one foot and close your eyes. Definitely have something to hold on to. I find it best to start by having your shoulder barely touching a wall. As you get better you can move a few inches further away from the wall like Debra is showing.

If you don't have someone to play catch with, stand on one leg and toss a ball against the wall and catch it. Scott showed me this exercise which he learned after his ankle surgery.

Thanks to my patient Tom Norton for ideas for balance exercises. If you have any good exercises please send them on to me.