Balance Test *

Perform the tests in the order given since they are arranged by degree of difficulty. Practice once or twice before testing is fine. If unable to pass a test, stop at that level.

Preliminary Test: Stand in front of a support with feet side by side and touching. If you can remain in this position for 10 seconds without using hands for support, proceed with the test. If unable to do this, balance is extremely poor and do not attempt the other tests.

Test 1: Tandem Stand (Romberg test). Stand between 2 chairs, lightly holding on for balance. Position one foot directly in front of the other; the heel of the front foot should be touching the toes of the foot in back. Distribute body weight evenly on both feet. Steady yourself and let go of support. Hold this position for 10 seconds without the aid of hands. Feet should not leave the floor.

Test 2: Single leg stance. Stand between 2 chairs with feet together, lightly holding on for support. Shift weight to one foot. Bend the other knee to bring that foot up in back. When balanced on one leg, let go of the support with one hand, then the other. Start timing when both hands are released. 30 seconds indicates good balance,

Test 3: Tandem stand with eyes closed. Same as Test 1 but with eyes closed. Close eyes before letting go of support; steady yourself and let go. Hold for 10 seconds.

Test 4: Tandem stand with eyes closed and head turning. This adds an additional challenge to test 3. After closing eyes, steadying yourself and letting go of support, slowly turn head to the right, to the left and back to the center. (~10 seconds).

Test 5: Single leg stance with eyes closed. This is the same as test 2, except with eyes closed. Before releasing hands, close eyes. Hold for 10 seconds.



Regardless of results, balance can be improved significantly with strength training and balance exercises, regardless of age.

*Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University; 2000, Strong Women, Strong Bones, p 83-87