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Sheri Colberg Part 3, Balance Exercises for Diabetics

In part 3 of this Exclusive Interview, Sheri Colberg shares some atypical balance exercises with  Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California.

Sheri Colberg, PhD, FACSM is Professor Emerita of Exercise Science at Old Dominion University in Virginia and a member of the Diabetes in Control Advisory Board.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed — So you talk about people getting better balance and you mention that it prevents people from falling. What do we need to do to improve our balance? Do we sit on a rubber ball or what?

Sheri Colberg – Well, actually there are a lot of ways to do it and that’s the beauty of it. The most simple thing you could do, that anyone could do, is just practice standing on one leg at a time. So you stand next to something where you can hold on and you may start with two hands or one hand until get to a point where it’s just one finger or no hands, and you practice standing on that leg for 30 seconds or a minute, and then you switch to the other leg and you do it several times a day and it’s amazing how much better your balance gets just practicing that. It’s not something we normally do. Just pretend you’re a flamingo and stand on one leg. And in addition to that, there are a number of resistance training exercises that we do for our core or lower body that also sort of double as balance training. So really in order to stay on our feet, we need to have a strong core and a strong lower body. Many of those exercises that you would be doing for the purpose of getting those areas stronger will also improve your balance. And then certainly you can use training tools. You can practice standing on uneven surface — a cushion, a Bosu balance training half ball — something where you actually have to use a variety of muscles to maintain that balance that you wouldn’t have to do normally if you’re just standing there on two feet.

Steve Freed — What are some of the type of exercise you can do?

Sheri Colberg — Interesting I might have a whole list of them that would provide you if you want, but basically it’s simple things like grabbing a towel with your toes, so you practice grabbing with your toes and see if you can grab onto a towel. Those are muscles that you don’t normally recruit and use, but in terms of standing, they are really important for stabilizing your foot. You can practice walking backwards along the wall. You can practice walking — this is also a test they make you do to see if you’re drunk —  but you know, one foot in front of the other in a straight line. But also if I’m not as think as you drunk I am, I can straight a walk line. (Laughter)  You can’t say that if you’re drunk, but it’s basically walking you know foot in front of a foot, which is not a normal walking pattern so there’s a lot more balance involved in staying on your feet. Just a lot of simple exercises like that.

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