Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Balance vs age

Old 06-02-13, 07:31 AM
  #1  
DnvrFox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,917
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Balance vs age

A number of "authorities" write that balance decreases with age - given changes in ear physiology, vision, proprioception, strength, etc. I know that most of us have excellent "bike balance" but was wondering about you - especially those of you in your later 60's, 70's and upwards. Have you noticed changes in any type of balance skills (including bicycling) and, if so, are you attempting any remediations, and, if so, how is it going for you.

I have noticed my balance skills deteriorating in activities such as climbing over rocks on hills, crossing a stream on rocks, and similar. I have an increased awareness of the danger and fear of falling, etc.

To counteract this, I am using a BOSU ball, and balance discs for a series of balance exercises. But, in addition, I am purposely seeking out rocks and hills with balance requirements and the like, and I use these for training, also. And, I have noticed a significant improvement.

My bike balance seems to be fine - in fact, I would say it is excellent. Just the other stuff.

So, how about you?
DnvrFox is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 07:58 AM
  #2  
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 6,093

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 790 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 11 Posts
I will be 67 in a couple weeks and, other than the normal "never going to play football again" type things, have not seen any deterioration in my physical abilities. Staying active helps immensely as I'm sure we all know.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:00 AM
  #3  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,382

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 55 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2428 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
While I'm not yet in your target age range I'll confirm that my balance is noticeably degraded. In addition to the reasons you listed which are all dead on in my opinion I think in large part it's due to falling out of practice as time goes by. In my 30's I'd do Yoga exercises which, stupid as it sounds, led to vast improvements in balance. These days my "yoga" balance is putting on shoes and socks standing on one leg. Seriously. But it does help ... not as much as your exercises, but I think we can train it back in at any age.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:05 AM
  #4  
DnvrFox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,917
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
While I'm not yet in your target age range I'll confirm that my balance is noticeably degraded. In addition to the reasons you listed which are all dead on in my opinion I think in large part it's due to falling out of practice as time goes by. In my 30's I'd do Yoga exercises which, stupid as it sounds, led to vast improvements in balance. These days my "yoga" balance is putting on shoes and socks standing on one leg. Seriously. But it does help ... not as much as your exercises, but I think we can train it back in at any age.
My balance changes were most forcefully brought to my attention as about 3 years ago I attended one of those "he-man" exercise activities classes. One of the things we were supposed to do was stand on one leg while pulling the other one up behind the butt in a stretch. I was, by far, the oldest person in the group of men. They could all do it. I could not. Wow!! Reality.
DnvrFox is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:15 AM
  #5  
carl_h
Senior Member
 
carl_h's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 123

Bikes: 2012 Cannondale Synapse 5 105

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At 62, I have suspected that my balance abilities have degraded although I have no hard data or instances to support that claim.
carl_h is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:19 AM
  #6  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 8,696
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 864 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by carl_h View Post
At 62, I have suspected that my balance abilities have degraded although I have no hard data or instances to support that claim.
See how long you can balance on one foot with your eyes closed. That skill seems to degrade as people age.
gregf83 is online now  
Old 06-02-13, 08:32 AM
  #7  
DnvrFox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,917
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
See how long you can balance on one foot with your eyes closed. That skill seems to degrade as people age.
Be sure you are near a wall or a chair or a post - seriously.
DnvrFox is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:37 AM
  #8  
jdon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,243
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I will ask my father and get back to you..
jdon is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 08:58 AM
  #9  
carl_h
Senior Member
 
carl_h's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 123

Bikes: 2012 Cannondale Synapse 5 105

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
See how long you can balance on one foot with your eyes closed. That skill seems to degrade as people age.
But I didn't do that when I was younger, so I still wouldn't know if my balance had degraded or I was always just a klutz. (OK...now waiting for the inevitable reply to that setup! LOL)
carl_h is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 09:01 AM
  #10  
Big Lew
Fraser Valley Dave
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada
Posts: 547

Bikes: devinci monaco (upgraded)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm also 67, and have noticed a decline in my balancing. There are many other factors involved besides general loses due to aging though. I have arthritis, damage from a broken hip resulting in reduced and painful flexibility, and reduced depth perception associated to old age, but the most significant factor is loss of confidence. When most people are young, they are full of confidence and 'go for it' without much concern of the possible consequences, whereas older people are hesitant and a bit timid and apprehensive because they worry about the consequences. This hesitation contributes to reduced balance. As an example...if you, at an advanced age, grab your bike and boldly push it forward while jumping aboard, everything usually works well, but if you timidly try to board, not only will you have difficulty in smoothly getting aboard, you'll have balancing problems as well. Sucks getting older.
Big Lew is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 09:12 AM
  #11  
volosong
Senior Member
 
volosong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 2,757

Bikes: n + 1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by carl_h View Post
At 62, I have suspected that my balance abilities have degraded although I have no hard data or instances to support that claim.
Almost 62 and the only time I notice a "loss of balance" is if I've been on the floor for any amount of time and quickly rise to my feet. Not always, but for a few moments, I have a sense of not having any balance and if there is nothing to grab ahold of, feel that I'll fall over.
volosong is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 09:19 AM
  #12  
flan48
Senior Member
 
flan48's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 361
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm another 67 year (young) old. I have experienced no obvious balance issues, except on the bike I can not seem to ride hands free, unimportant as that may be. I have also noticed that at very low speed, especially when turning, I feel very wobbly/insecure. In fact doing just that a couple of weeks ago I had a crash that resulted in a fractured nose and eye socket (both now pretty much healed).

Of course there may exist, within me, a fear of having a bike crash as I had spine surgery (laminectomy and fusion) 3 years ago so I am very conscious of back impacts.

Best regards
flan48 is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 09:28 AM
  #13  
leob1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Middle of the road, NJ
Posts: 2,957
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 208 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Timely post, I just got up to walk into the kitchen, and nearly fell down, and my vision was all blurry. HOLY COW! I thought. The I realized I had my reading glasses on. Balance is fine, memory not so much.
leob1 is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 09:34 AM
  #14  
seedsbelize 
Refugee
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Tixkokob, Yucatán, México
Posts: 10,932
Mentioned: 90 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4558 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Pushing 61. I don't hop across rocks like I used to, and I walk in them every morning with the dogs. Every once in awhile, I'll feel like the back end of the bike is shimmying a little, like maybe the quick release is loose. That said, I suffered a concussion a few rears ago, playing tennis of all things. It takes much longer to fully recover from these things. I can still ride no hands, if I choose to.
__________________
I just love riding a vintage road bike. The smooth speed and quick response of the steel has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I know.

My bikes: 58cm '72 Schwinn World Voyageur, 24" '79 Trek 930, 58cm '84 Schwinn Letour Luxe, with couplers, 61cm '92 Schwinn Paramount (Panasonic) [Incoming: 60cm '88 Centurion Ironman Expert, 24" '80 Trek 414]
I will buy no more bikes forever.
seedsbelize is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 12:09 PM
  #15  
volosong
Senior Member
 
volosong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 2,757

Bikes: n + 1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
...I suffered a concussion a few rears ago, playing tennis of all things. It takes much longer to fully recover from these things...
Holy Molly. Didn't anyone ever tell you to turn your back on an opponent's overhead smash? If you don't mind sharing, how did it happen? (Asked by another tennis player.)
volosong is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 12:54 PM
  #16  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 40,893

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 182 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6549 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 62 Times in 56 Posts
Do you have a Link to some of those scientific studies ?? I can use the evidence in court in 2 weeks.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 01:31 PM
  #17  
Bob O'Keefe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Balance

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Do you have a Link to some of those scientific studies ?? I can use the evidence in court in 2 weeks.
Hearing loss really effects balance. I wear two hearing aids normally but cannot wear them while riding because of the air noise and heat build up.

Bob
Bob O'Keefe is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 01:54 PM
  #18  
groth
astro
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Pennington, NJ
Posts: 287

Bikes: Raleigh Sports, '72, Bianchi Volpe, '97 (no more, it died), Greenspeed GTVS6, '05, Trek 520, '13

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I lost my left inner ear at the age of 22. So my balance (especially in the dark or with eyes closed) hasn't been good for a long time (I'm 67 now). However, my regular exercise includes standing on one foot for at least 30 seconds. (One foot then the other.) I don't really notice any problems on or off the bike.

- Ed
groth is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 02:16 PM
  #19  
jmart2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
71 plus still love to ride. no balance problems.
jmart2 is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 04:13 PM
  #20  
Dudelsack 
A might bewildered...
 
Dudelsack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Loovul
Posts: 6,529

Bikes: Bacchetta Giro ATT 26; Lemond Buenos Aires

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's a very good question: if you start to lose balance, can you retrain it back to some extent?

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. Our hospital now has a center for vestibular/labyrinthine disorders, and they say it can be retaught. The classic example is someone with post-concussion syndrome. Apparently you can really help some people who get their bells rung.

The BOSU ball is a great idea. My therapist wants me to work out on it every day. I use it about twice a year. Oh well.
__________________
We are on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.
Dudelsack is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 04:30 PM
  #21  
rubic
Slogging along
 
rubic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: San Fernando Valley, SoCal
Posts: 1,148

Bikes: Cannondale Synapse '06, Mongoose titanium road bike '00--my commuter. Yes, Mongoose once made a decent ti road bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I notice at age 64 some balance issues, subtle as they are. Balance involves three interacting aspects, middle ear, somatosensory (how your body feels) and visual. Unless there are other health issues involved, you can compensate for balance issues by visualizing further out to the horizon. The closer you visualize to your body, the more balance issues will manifest.
rubic is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 06:08 PM
  #22  
nmichell
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Posts: 394

Bikes: '05 Salsa La Raza, '13 Aluboo (bamboo) SS, '12 DaVinci Grand Junction tandem

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hey Denver, thanks for bringing this up. Balance does deteriorate with age, but as you already found out, it is trainable at any age. I try to do some balance work on the BOSU at the end of every weight training session.
nmichell is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 06:31 PM
  #23  
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,381

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 577 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
My Yoga Teacher explained that balance doesn't deteriorate with age but that people think it does because of the increase of falls injuries in relation to age. She says that the falls are due to reaction time not balance. She says practice balance and you won't have count on your reaction time, as much, to save you.

Last edited by BigAura; 06-02-13 at 06:35 PM.
BigAura is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 07:27 PM
  #24  
martianone
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern VT
Posts: 2,114

Bikes: recumbent & upright

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Think my balance is about the same. I can ride as well now, as I did in my teens and twenties.
However I do believe my reaction time might be a little slower, that could impact balance control.
There is a lot of data suggesting cycling helps improve Parkinson's related motion control.
martianone is offline  
Old 06-02-13, 07:53 PM
  #25  
DnvrFox
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,917
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
My Yoga Teacher explained that balance doesn't deteriorate with age but that people think it does because of the increase of falls injuries in relation to age. She says that the falls are due to reaction time not balance. She says practice balance and you won't have count on your reaction time, as much, to save you.
Interesting.

Thanks for sharing.
DnvrFox is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.