June 4, 2023 by Lazer Brody
Are you interested in knowing your potential longevity? Try standing on one foot. If you’re over 50 and you can stand on one foot for 20 seconds, you’re in good shape. Research has shown a significant correlation between balance and longevity.
One study showed that brain imaging from an MRI scan revealed that people who had trouble balancing on one leg for longer than 20 seconds were more likely to have micro-bleeds in their brain or areas of damage in their brain (SVD) that put them at an increased risk for cognitive decline including problems with memory, language, attention and thinking.
The balancing test also predicted people’s thinking skills: the longer they could balance on one leg the better their cognitive function (thinking ability). The longest that anyone in the study was able to stand on one leg was for 60 seconds. But with training, practice and help from Above, you’ll be able to do much more.
Balance is one of the best ways to assess a person’s overall fitness. It indicates the connection between the mind and the body as well as the soul and the body. For that reason, my morning exercise routine begins with a balance-oriented warmup. I first loosen up my ankle and knee joints. Then I stand on one leg like a flamingo. This is very similar to a classic Yoga “tree pose”. I hold this position for as long as I can, first with the right leg and then standing on the left leg. The better I feel, the longer I’m able to stand on one foot.
Balance is made possible through the function of the inner ear. This is in effect the passageway between the physical body and the soul. How? Hearing, like speech, is a less tangible physical aspect of the body. It is more spiritual than other functions of the body, for example lifting an object with your hand. The Zohar teaches that speech is in the category of ruach (the middle of the soul’s 3 layers). Since the process of hearing is similar to speech, we can get a picture of what’s going on with a person’s soul from how balanced he or she is.
People who are worried and who lack emuna are functioning on the level of the animal soul. The “animal” part of a person doesn’t know that he or she has a higher soul. Unknowing that they can turn to Hashem, such people are subject to panic and loss of balance. But, by learning to stay in balance, one can regain his physical, emotional and spiritual equilibrium. A gymnast performing on the balance beam or a tight-rope walker has a high level of mental composure and fantastic potential for emuna.
If you’re having difficulty with balance, don’t fret. Watch this 3-minute vid by expert physical therapist Doug Weiss. It’s a great method that works! And, it’s an easy way to improve your confidence and well-being. G-d bless, and let us know how it works for you.