Have you ever been walking down steps and missed a step or couldn’t tell where the step was? This is a common way of falling. Our body uses several systems to help maintain balance. Some of these include sensory which is vision, vestibular (your inner ear) and somatosensory. Somatosensory refers to receptors in your muscles and joints that make you aware of where your body is in space.
As we age these systems tend to be compromised. For example, muscles become weaker and less flexible. This limits your ability to know where your limbs are in space. Therefore, it makes it more difficult to advance your foot down the steps. Exercises including stretching and strengthening can help reduce or even reverse the effect of aging on the muscles.
I’m Steve Taylor, Physical Therapist of Southern Physical and Occupational Therapy Services
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