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Why can't I do this simple thing?
Old 04-04-2015, 08:35 AM   #1
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Why can't I do this simple thing?

Back in December, the Washington Post published an article, entitled "Are You Acting Your Age?" containing "tests" of physical and mental ability for people over 50. I'm utterly frustrated by the "stand on your dominant foot and close your eyes" test for prioperception. It says that at 50, one should be able to hold this position consistently - without swaying - for at least 9 seconds. Well, I have been practicing (looking quite silly I'm sure) and the best I can do consistently is only 4 seconds. This is annoying, since I've always prided myself on balance.

Are you acting your age?

Amethyst
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:23 AM   #2
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this is one of the test I had to do after chemo (and before some rehab exercises). I think I could last .5 seconds. Very surprising and frustrating. Apparently my chemo impacts this priopreception. After 12 weeks of 3 days a week rehab, I was able to do about 30 seconds. I just tried again and I am back down for a few seconds
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:44 AM   #3
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This is something that is correlated with age, but I doubt that there is causation in the direction we'd like. In other words, you can practice to balance for longer, and you can certainly make significant progress on your time, but I doubt that just doing this is going to increase your chances of living longer. It's like that "sit on the floor and get up from the floor without touching anything" test. I'm sure it correlates to mortality risk, but practicing it to get better at it probably won't do anything to make you live longer.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:18 AM   #4
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Interesting. When I first read it I thought it would be a piece of cake. Not!! I'm right handed so assume that my dominant foot would be my right foot as I kick right footed too. I failed at my first try, but after a few tries am able to do it for more than 9 seconds. Interestingly, I do better on my left foot but that is the forward foot when I slalom water skiied (no longer do but did every day in my youth) so perhaps that is why.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:39 AM   #5
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I'm the same, right hand, kick with right foot, slolam left in front. After three or four complete failures, I was able to get over 9 seconds on each, but the left came easier.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:43 AM   #6
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OK, so it's a slow morning and I tried it
Test: Balance on one foot, eyes closed. Right-handed folk, raise the left foot - lefties, raise the right - about six inches off the floor, bending the knee at a 45-degree angle. Then start the timer. As soon as you sway, open your eyes or touch the floor, stop the clock. Do this test three times and average your score
I get completely different results based on when I close my eyes:

(1) If I lift my foot, bend my knee, then close my eyes, I can go for a long time.

(2) If I close my eyes, lift my foot, bend my knee, I fall over after a few of seconds.

From reading the instructions, I honestly can't ascertain when I'm suppose to close my eyes. So I'm picking (2) and expecting to live forever!
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:54 AM   #7
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I had to do that test in therapy after I broke my ankle about 5 years ago. After I improved a little, the therapists had me stand on the impaired foot and bounce a ball off a vertical trampoline and catch it - all while standing on one foot. That was tough, but standing on one foot with eyes closed is tougher. I can't do this test now for more than 5 seconds. It's hell to grow old.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Back in December, the Washington Post published an article, entitled "Are You Acting Your Age?" containing "tests" of physical and mental ability for people over 50. I'm utterly frustrated by the "stand on your dominant foot and close your eyes" test for prioperception. It says that at 50, one should be able to hold this position consistently - without swaying - for at least 9 seconds. Well, I have been practicing (looking quite silly I'm sure) and the best I can do consistently is only 4 seconds. This is annoying, since I've always prided myself on balance.

Are you acting your age?

Amethyst
I'm wondering what you are worrying about with this?

The reporter who wrote the article states:
Quote:
This isn't science; for that, you need a trained clinician to give you cognitive and physiological tests. But if you're looking to set some new resolutions for the new year, now is a good time to assess yourself.
For me, I'm not a fan of newspaper puzzles, little tests, and such. The real test is to learn to dump the competitive stuff and just take care of yourself.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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OP - start getting your balance back by brushing your teeth on one foot, switching back and forth from one to the other. In no time you will ace that test.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:16 AM   #10
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Amethyst, don't feel bad! I can only do about 3 or 3.5 seconds. But I think my balance is OK.

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For me, I'm not a fan of newspaper puzzles, little tests, and such. The real test is to learn to dump the competitive stuff and just take care of yourself.
+1

I think that competitive stuff is mostly for younger people who are trying to figure out how they fit into the universe. By now (at almost 67), I really don't feel the need for that stuff any more. I compete with myself and that's much more fun. I always win!
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:42 AM   #11
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OP - start getting your balance back by brushing your teeth on one foot, switching back and forth from one to the other. In no time you will ace that test.
You forgot to add that one has to close their eyes and hum a tune too.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #12
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Try bending your knee slightly. I practice this all the time while waiting for elevators.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:08 PM   #13
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I went to months of balance therpy. Your balance is controlled by your vestibular system(think inner ears), muscles and joints(think touch) and your vision. In my case I'm very visually oriented and that caused me issues. Anyways after months of balance therpy I was considered having normal balance. Even though I had a deficit without vision. Most of the therapys had the same progession - do this exercise till your comfortable with it, then try it with your eyes closed.

That particular exercise, one foot and eyes closed is very difficult, occasionally I can get over 5 seconds. In the one footed stand your removing 50% of touch and 100% of vision. So it's your vestibular system that's doing all the work.

If you want to get better at it, excel at one footed standing(at least 30 seconds) then start removing your vision. As a fun trick when you start to get dizzy with eyes closed, touch one finger to a wall/table, you should gain balance right back. One little finger can balance you, its pretty amazing.

Do be careful have a spotter or do it in a corner.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:09 PM   #14
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Darn, this is harder than I thought. It's the knee bending plus the eye closing that makes it tough! If I can keep my eyes open, it's a lot easier. My wife did not fare much better. And we thought we were reasonably fit.

Who thought of this torturous test anyway? Oh well, we are near 60, so what can one expect? It continues to go down hill from here.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:24 PM   #15
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Competition is not the issue...I just want to be able to do the trick, because that's the way I am, LOL. Perhaps I couldn't do the trick when I was 30, either, who knows?

A.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:28 PM   #16
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OP - start getting your balance back by brushing your teeth on one foot, switching back and forth from one to the other. In no time you will ace that test.
I failed that. Couldn't find any teeth on my feet
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:28 PM   #17
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I think you have to be young to get really good at this stuff.

Juggling Five Balls While Standing On One Foot
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:48 PM   #18
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My balance is excellent, and I do 2 yoga style classes a week to keep in practice, but I found this test remarkably difficult. Closing your eyes makes all the difference, and I had to practice several times to get reasonable results.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:48 PM   #19
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I'm searching for a test that involves consuming three squares of chocolate and two glasses of wine. ...I could pass with flying colors.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:53 PM   #20
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Wow - not easy at all. Something I need to add to my Yoga balance repertoire. Super easy with my eyes open. I sway immediately with eyes closed.

NOTE: it is easier to balance on a hard floor than on carpet.
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