Early balance training may prevent injury, falls, expert says

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The National Institutes of Health claims 300,000 hospital visits are due to fall-related injuries, but doing one to five minutes of balance training a day can help prevent this. (KABC)

It is 6:30 a.m. at Equinox Beverly Hills and trainer Jill Brown's CrossTraining Revolution is doing more than sizzling calories.

There are plenty of cardio and strength moves but equally important is the balance challenge.

"It's one of those things if you don't use it, you absolutely lose it," reminded Brown.

Brown added that balance training becomes more important as we age, but it's vital for every person.

"Most people are dominant on one side of their body and what they do is they overuse one side of their body, which leaves the other side a little more susceptible to injuries and just getting weaker and weaker," she said.

Michel Behzad has been a gym-goer for over two years and sees tremendous improvement in balance - something most take for granted until its gone.

"It's hard. We do the whole thing - the strength, the balance, the cardio. We're all charged up," said Behzad.

"Researchers have done tons of studies on this and they found that when people get older and when they practice balance or do balance training exercises, they're less likely to trip and fall," said Brown.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are about 300,000 admitted each year to the hospital due to fall-related injuries. So along with your strength, you need the balance to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

"I recommend to people to spend one to five minutes a day doing balance. It can be as simple as standing on one leg for 20 minutes while you're doing the dishes and then stand on the other leg," she said.

Student Jim Tilton tore his meniscus two years ago, assuming he was headed for surgery, but he started doing balance work every day.

"In a matter of six weeks, it was like no brace, no nothing - just the basics on the floor, one-leg, squats," said Tilton.

His advice?

"Balance," he said.
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