Zoomer Boomer: You and tires — they both need balancing
“Balance” is one of those words that you see quite frequently during this time of the year.
Usually associated with some type of New Year’s resolution regarding work and leisure, the idea provides decent fodder for self help columnists pursuing a paycheck. But for Zoomer Boomers, balance and its importance mean something entirely different.
By definition, Boomers are active folks and activity requires safe movement. Inherent in safe movement is the idea of avoiding a fall and nothing is more important in this avoidance than balance.
While falling itself may not be a major concern of seniors, suffice it to say that the landing is. In a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans 65 years or older fall each year. This is the bad news.
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The good news is that we know that the primary reason for poor balance among Boomers is a simple lack of muscle tone and strength due to inactivity.
The even better news is that there are proven approaches that everyone can take to improve their balance. These include strengthening of core muscles, working on and testing of balance skills, along with the usual flexibility and posture improvement attention.
Probably the single biggest challenge for the majority of Boomers, however, is simply recognizing that we’ve come to a point in our lives where our historic perceptions of training need to be reassessed.
Few of us grew up in a fitness focus that included balance. Indeed, for many of us this was just something we called upon and some folks tended to have more and better of it than others.
We now know that physical activity and muscle strength along with flexibility and nervous system challenges all come together in balance. So, by choosing to work on each of these, we can work on improving our balance.
Anecdotally I can speak to the benefits of this approach. Prior to this year, I always pursued outdoor winter sports.
From snowshoeing to snowboarding to cross country skiing, all involve some degree of balance and all historically involved a number of falls in the first few days. Until about two years ago! Starting then, I started a daily program of increased calisthenics and stretching finishing up with some simple balancing routines. The on-snow results, at least for me, were nothing short of amazing.
As I have been repeatedly instructed, one of the keys to good form in cross country skiing is the ability to commit to the ski.
This is skinny ski talk for the ability to shift one’s weight and have all of it balanced on one board (ski) just prior to shifting all and weighting all on the other board (ski). Repeating this striding and balancing act on snow is how you motor and doing it well and often and is how you efficiently motor for a lengthy period of time.
It used to take me about a week of determined failure to get comfortable with the commitment aspect.
This was also accompanied by face plants and encounters of the tree kind with their associated aches and pains. When wearing a green jacket, I could be said to bear a strong resemblance to a frog in a blender.
But thanks to the balancing training, if not good, I was certainly better from Day One.
My major mistake continued to be my forgetting to leave any semblance of extreme skiing to those who are extreme skiers.
For you golfers, guess what? Balancing work you do now will pay off in strokes reduced this summer.
My advice for Boomers for the coming year—think Tree Pose!
Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring award winning business and sports columns, and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth.
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