The fear of falling causes some people to avoid exercising, or even getting up and moving around. Ironically, the less we move, the more likely we are to lose our sense of balance.

Close your eyes and try to touch the tips of your index fingers above your head. This is called proprioception, which is the ability to sense the orientation of your body in your environment. When you move, sensory nerves tell your brain what is moving and where it’s moving. This is what your sense of balance is all about.

You can improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling by increasing the amount and variety of moving around you do daily. Tai Chi exercises help with flexibility, strength, and balance. A Tai Chi class is offered by Dallas County Hospital; call 515-465-7628 to register. Yoga provides similar benefits. Dancing (alone or with a partner) helps maintain balance.

If you are brand new to Medicare or have had Medicare for at least a year, you can get a wellness exam that includes a fall risk assessment. Some Medicare Advantage plans even cover wellness classes. The website is the best place to check for details.