Exercise can improve poor balance

As we get older, our balance gets worse. And that makes us more likely to fall,which is not a good thing.

"Falls in the elderly are one the great causes of broken hips and broken hips are a slippery slope to other complications," said Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. "So, having good balance is really critical to healthy aging."

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your balance.

"Just simple walking is helpful," Swartzberg said. "Chinese marshall arts have turned out to be a wonderful way to help improve your balance. And there are lots of thing you can do at home."

If your balance has declined, don't ignore it. The problem will only get worse.

"Get somebody to help you learn the kind of things you can do to improve that balance and you'll find that within six weeks of training, not only will your strength be better, but your balance will a lot better," Swartzberg said. "It's really remarkable that you can retrain your balance."

The Wellness Letter has prepared a special supplement called Getting Fit for Life, which includes more information on balance.