For the 50 percent of women over 45 who feel a little unsteady on their feet this time of year, help is here! Warmer weather and dehydration combined with natural, age-related estrogen dips can trigger dizziness, but these easy fixes restore your sense of balance and help you outsmart painful spring falls.
Remove that footwear.
You can slash energy-sapping inflammation just by kicking off your shoes. When the body comes into contact with the earth (called “grounding”), it absorbs free electrons from the ground, neutralizing harmful free radicals enough to cut inflammation by 277 percent! Almost like plugging into a giant battery, this practice replenishes the body with energy. To get the perks, wiggle your toes in the lawn, walk on untreated sand or soil or go for a swim in the ocean or a lake. Can’t go barefoot? Shoes with soft leather soles also conduct free electrons.
Toss a little sack.
One reason kids have great balance? They play! And in so doing, they move around in all different directions. Whether you toss a ball for your pooch or a beanbag into cornhole, having fun makes you more sure-footed too. That’s the word from University of Michigan scientists, who say 20 minutes of play daily cuts the risk of falls by 50 percent. Ken Inoue, MD says regular bursts of motion stimulate nerves in the brain that heighten your balance, coordination and reflexes.
Act like a flamingo.
Standing for even half a minute on one leg (like flamingos do!) when coping with dizziness reduces the odds of a fall by as much as 55 percent, British scientists say. Turns out every time you stand on a single leg, your inner ear sends balance-sharpening messages to your brain. To do: While chatting on the phone, bend your knees slightly, then lift one foot off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat.
Have fun in the sun.
Take your fun outside! Getting 20 minutes of strong sun exposure daily allows your skin to ramp up production of vitamin D3. This sharpens your balance by 35 percent, reducing the odds of a fall up to 70 percent, suggests research in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine. Neurologist Jay Kim, MD, says D3 keeps muscles healthy, so they can react quickly when you deal with dizziness, lean, or even stumble.
Asparagus, spinach, and broccoli are rich in vitamin C and glutathione, which nourish the balance center in your inner ear. And a daily dose reduced dizzy spells for up to 75 percent of people studied, Japanese scientists say. Tip: Short cook times (like grilling) boost the benefit by reducing nutrient breakdown.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.