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Being Active Helps You Stay Balanced, Reduce Falls

If you're already physically active, keep it up. And if you're not, talk with your doctor about starting an exercise program. Because new research shows that older people who are active have better control of their balance. This is true for seniors who have exercised for a long time and for those who have only recently started.

And seniors who used to exercise, but no longer do, have balance that's nearly as poor as people who never exercised much at all.

Keeping your balance is extremely important, because loss of balance leads to falls, and falls lead to injuries that can keep you from continuing to live independently. When you exercise, your muscles are stronger, which alone helps with balance control. Your inner ear is also better able to function.

In the recent research, both men and women who were active had balance scores that were similar to the scores of people who were 10 or 15 years younger.

International Journal of Sports Medicine, January 2007

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