I’ve taken the challenge. I have started trying to stand on one foot with my eyes closed.
I’ve always thought that my balance has been pretty good, and I have no problem standing on one foot. But that’s only with my eyes open. Once I close my eyes, I find I start lurching to the side. This exercise was an eye-opening experience, both figuratively and literally.
My lesson is an important one for menopausal women to consider because balance problems seem to emerge, especially after the age of 60. In fact, the percent of people falling increases dramatically with each decade after the age of 65 (40 percent to 65 percent to 82 percent). And problems of balance can lead to falls, which can lead to hip fractures. These fractures are responsible for between 12 percent and 67 percent of elderly adults.
The Vestibular System
Your balance is linked to the vestibular system. This system involves the parts of the ear and brain and other that are responsible for motion (rotation and linear movement), equilibrium and spatial orientation. These include:
The ear’s utricle and saccule, which detect gravity and linear movement, and three semicircular canals, which detect rotational movement. The cerebellum, which coordinates and regulates posture, movement and balance.
The cerebral cortex, which helps with higher level thinking and memory.