Older woman looking ahead with arms spread wide as if balancing herself

Can you stand on one leg for 10 seconds?

Why balance could be a matter of life and death – and how to improve yours.

Published: 6 December 2022
  • national
  • 6 December 2022
  • The Guardian

Studies have shown poor balance can be associated with serious health problems – as well as increased risks of falls as we get older. But there are ways to make yours better

Until we start to lose our balance, we barely notice that it’s there at all. “It starts for a lot of people with simple stuff,” says Dr Anna Lowe, an expert on healthy ageing and physical activity.

Maybe you used to be able to quickly stand on one leg to put a shoe on, and you’ve stopped doing that at some point. Maybe you used to get out of the bath on to a slippery floor without thinking, and now you have to hold on to something. It’s easy to either miss the signs or just put it down to ageing – but it really is something you can affect.

The key, it is increasingly becoming clear, is to address the decline before it gets serious: and that can happen earlier than you might think.