fitness · yoga

Balance, baby, balance

June 21st is many things. It’s summer solstice, it’s also National Indigenous Peoples Day — a day for all Canadians to celebrate the diverse cultures, unique heritage, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples, and it’s International Yoga Day.

Laura is celebrating International Yoga Day with a standing balance flow. She writes, “Are you up for a fun (I think) standing balance challenge? Here is a short (<10 mins.) flow, taught by me.”

Bonus content: her dog Trudy demonstrates a beautiful execution of “Sleeping Dog Pose” throughout this video.

And balance is also in the news days these day as a marker of health.

Balancing on one leg may be useful health test in later life, research suggests

“If you have difficulty standing on one leg, it could be a sign of something more serious than overdoing it at the office summer drinks party. Middle-aged and elderly people who cannot balance on one leg for 10 seconds are almost twice as likely to die within 10 years than those who can, research suggests.

How well a person can balance can offer an insight into their health. Previous research, for instance, indicates that an inability to balance on one leg is linked to a greater risk of stroke. People with poor balance have also been found to perform worse in tests of mental decline, suggesting a link with dementia.

Now an international group of experts from the UK, US, Australia, Finland and Brazil have completed a first-of-its-kind, 12-year study examining the relationship between balance and mortality. Although the research was observational and cannot establish cause, its findings were striking.

An inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in middle to later life is linked to a near doubling in the risk of death from any cause within the next 10 years. The results were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The findings are so stark that the researchers, led by Dr Claudio Gil Araujo of the Clinimex exercise medicine clinic in Rio de Janeiro, suggest a balance test should be included in routine health checks for older people.

Unlike aerobic fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, balance tends to be well preserved until the sixth decade of life, when it starts to wane relatively rapidly. However, balance assessment typically is not included in health checks of middle-aged and older people, possibly because there is no standardised test for it. Until now there had been little hard data linking balance to clinical outcomes other than falls.”

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