Boiling the kettle, waiting for the squat rack, in a queue at the supermarket checkout. All of these have something in common. They offer a great opportunity to stand on one leg, which can work wonders for your health.
A recent study has revealed that increasing the amount of time you spend standing on one leg can benefit you as you get older.1
When working in an office it’s hard to prevent spending your whole day sitting, then you’ve got to get home, probably even more time spent sitting. An unwanted consequence being the longer you spend sitting the more muscle strength you lose. Of course, hit the gym. Build it back up. But an even easier fix is to stand on one leg, according to the study.
In general, when upright, the human body is pretty unstable. We’ve got a small base relative to our height and width. So, the taller you are, the more unstable you are. Our eyes, inner ears, muscles and joints work hard to keep us balanced. The more physically active we are, the better our balance tends to be. And, if you strive for the best, standing on one leg will also improve your balance.
People with poor balance have a higher risk of experiencing a fall, and the older we get the more risks that follow.
The study saw younger people having better balance than people older than them. Research has shown that people 80 years old and higher, being able to spend 10 seconds standing on one foot is optimal.2 Especially for improving hip bone mineral density, meaning that if they were to experience a fall, there’s less chance of a fracture. But if steps are taken earlier on, then your balance could be well above average for your age group.
|Age||Average length of time spent on one leg with eyes open (seconds)||Average length of time spent on one leg with eyes closed (seconds)|
Experts even suggest challenging yourself to standing on one leg with your eyes closed. With your eyes open the body becomes lazy and relies on your vision to keep you balanced, so by closing your eyes you’re forcing your other senses to work harder.
Every day, twice a day, you spend four minutes of your life brushing your teeth. Make it interesting. Close your eyes. Stand on one leg.
Take Home Message
Are you going to get ahead of the game now and improve your balance to reduce the risk of a fall? Alternatively, let nature take its course. We personally are going to be looking to beat our standing on one leg PBs every day. Afterall, 37.3 million falls per year worldwide are severe enough to require medical attention.1