Some of you may have seen reports in the press earlier this year, which picked up on a report in the journal Stroke—which reports news on strokes and cardiovascular diseases.
This report highlighted the importance of being able to balance on one leg, and its relevance to the information that’s sent to the brain. Unsteadiness could indicate problems, which might lead to strokes and falls in old age.
I have a particular interest in this area of health, for I had a minor stroke in 1995, at the age of 41. In a way I wasn’t surprised that it happened, for 1995 was an extremely stressful year, what with the end of a long-term relationship, business failure, homelessness and all round nastiness and sadness. Having a stroke almost felt like my brain telling me it had had enough of this rubbish, and to clean up my act!
I was fortunate to get away with only a few after-effects. The main one was a strange and erratic tendency to miss out certain letters when I wrote something. Some days I would omit the letter ‘b’, the next day the letter ‘g’ would be missing from a page of writing. I didn’t notice that I wasn’t penning them while I was writing – it was only when I read things out. This was in pre-computer days, without the intervention of a spell-checker to highlight mistakes, when I wrote everything in longhand.
To retrain my brain, I copied out hundreds of pages from novels and non-fiction books, reaching a point where all of the necessary letters were there.
My balance is OK, which may be partly helped by having ridden hundreds of thousands of miles on motorcycles and bicycles.
N.B. CAUTION! Do these balancing tests in a clear area, especially if you’re going to close your eyes. Having a bed or a sofa to fall onto nearby is a good idea – I don’t want you putting an arm through your television or computer screen.