Balancing on One Leg, Good Test for Your Longevity

By “younger”, I assume you mean in effect, having less of the loss of functionality that tends to happen as time goes by.

I think that what you are saying is that balance time a marker for some underlying state of health & modifying it with practice has no effect on that underlying state.

As you may imagine, I think that improving balance does affect the underlying state. It’s my opinion, I’m not going to try to look for studies testing it (I’m not that motivated :slight_smile: -) ).

As an analogy, weight training can improve how much one can lift & muscular strength is associated with longevity, but I don’t think people believe that strength is just a marker & the weight training has no effect on health. MHO, balance training has a similar effect, though more on nerves than on muscle.

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That’s an interesting question. From a search:

Maintaining balance requires the coordinated efforts of 3 different body systems; the eyes, the inner ear and the sensors in the body’s muscular system. The information from these systems all gets sent to the brain who uses it to determine the body’s position and the strategies it needs to use to maintain balance.

Each of the systems provides a unique perspective. The inner ear concentrates on head position and senses if the head is rotating or tilting in any direction, as well as determining if we are moving forward, backward, up or down. The sensors in the muscular system, in particular those in the lower part of the body, relay information about areas that are being stretched and also pressure changes. The eyes determine our position relative to the horizon and use visual reference points to assess body position.
Why is it so hard to balance with my eyes closed? - Active Seniors


The easiest way to incorporate this into a daily routine is to tie and untie your shoes and remove socks one at a time, standing on one leg. This is harder than just standing still.

Whenever I go to jiu-jitsu class, I take my shoes and socks off before getting on the mats. I’ve made it a point to do this without sitting down, and since I don’t want to embarrass myself by falling over or hopping around unbalanced, I’ve improved over time.

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Read about this five years ago. At that time, I could barely do ten seconds (eyes open). I did it everyday, and now, I can do more than 120 seconds per foot.

I asked an old drinking buddy from college, who is a cardiologist (I am not a physician), if it is a skill that could be learned. He said yes.

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I do this twice a week as part of my exercise routine. My reasoning is that it helps the brain stay in touch with the muscles in the legs and feet, and it may help prevent a fall. At age 73 I do it for 3 minutes each leg with varying stances, eyes open.


I do balance exercises occasionally. My static balancing on one leg, eyes-open, is pretty good, a couple minutes. I also extend and move my free leg forward, side, back. This requires counterbalance and improves the ability to control body equilibrium in movement. Eyes-closed, maximum 3 seconds, usually less.

At 83 y.o. I am resigned to the likelihood that eyes-closed balance isnt going to get any better. I wonder if anyone has been able to significantly improve their eyes-closed balance.

Big improvement for me over the last couple of years (2 seconds to now 1 minute), but I’m only 53.

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Wow! So maybe there is hope. I’ll add eyes-closed practice.

This is another useful functional test. It is, however, also a learned skill and although balance is a useful skill I am not sure that it therefore carry forward to other aspects of longevity. I may practice this when I have some spare time, but I stopped doing it at 30 seconds on left and right feet (eyes open - age 62). Eyes closed is probably more useful to practice as it tests out more systems. Eyes closed I can only do a few seconds at the moment.

I find this online test of High Frequency Hearing quite an easy thing to use. It is, however, not so much something which can be improved by practice.

I can hear up to 14kHz.


there is apparently some evidence that sarcopenia might be related to nerves flaking out, which could also affect vestibular sense.

Muscle growth requires three things, a) exercise, b) nutrients (protein etc), c) for satellite cells to differentiate so they produce the right proteins. As people get old c) fails which discourages a).

My view is that the failure of differentiation has the same cause as osteoporisis as highlighted in this paper:

This paper goes part way down the same route:

My own experimentation appears to substantiate the argument that it is possible to create an environment in which muscle growth becomes easier and the point in c) above is essentially resolved.

This is very interesting. Seems like we can compare to see how we are doing compared to the norm. Would be interesting to see if, over time, rapamycin slows the decline (as mouse studies show already).

Rapamycin Maintains Hearing Study Here: Rapamycin Delays Age-Related Hearing Loss (part 2)

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This page

Gives some age ranges. I prefer the test on the other page I linked to. This is, however, more a question of how high a frequency someone can hear.

One thing I regret is not having enough base measurements when I started out trying to improve my health at the cellular level. Hence I don’t know where I was on this measurement two years ago.

Yes there is hope - I feel the muscles in the feet are constantly working to adjust the balance - really have to concentrate. (It must be how blind people adapt and it then comes naturally to them so they don’t then think about it)

Thats a valuable observation and hypothesis. To test it, I just took off my crocs, stood balancing on one leg and concentrated on the sensations in my feet. I then closed my eyes and on my first try doubled my previous “record” of 3 seconds to 6".
In the past I had been trying to stabilize myself entirely by focusing my attention on receptors at the top of my body. Now I see that the feet sense and adapt earlier to changes in weight equilibrium. Potentially through training using eyes-closed balance exercises we could gain better early warning of imbalance and reduce the risk of falls.

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