Having a stroke is dangerous and can lead to death, even among young people. Stroke is also known as a cerebrovascular accident. This is a condition of brain damage due to interruption or significant decrease of blood flow to the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen in the brain and insufficient nutrition to feed the cells. The brain cells will begin to die if there is not enough blood supply within a few minutes. Stroke patients must be treated immediately. The longer it takes, the more brain cells die, which impacts the body’s mobility, ability to think or even death. Most stroke survivors suffer from deterioration in their health or suffer after effects, such as paralysis or impaired mobility of some body parts, impaired speech, emotional disorder, and visual problems.
Preventing stroke is a concern for many people, especially the elderly and people who have history of the ailment or experience high blood pressure.
In a new study published in the Japanese journal Stroke, a team of scientists at the University of Kyoto proposed a simple self-examination for stroke resistance.
Their method is to stand on one leg and read the newspaper placed on the floor for 20-30 seconds or count from one to 20. If you are still balanced, the risk of stroke is low, which is a good sign for your health.
If you cannot maintain your balance and want to sit down, you should schedule an appointment with a specialist. When you are unable to maintain your balance, you are at high risk of stroke and, potentially, brain damage.
If you cannot maintain your balance and want to sit down, you should schedule an appointment with a specialist.
In the study published in Stroke, Dr. Yasuharu Tabara and his colleagues asked 1,400 men and women with an average age of 67 to stand on one leg for one minute. The researchers did a brain scan with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the vulnerability of small blood vessels in the brain to silent stroke or minimal bleeding (microbleed). The results showed that those who could not balance on one leg for 20 seconds were more likely to incur mild brain damage. Their risk of stroke was high, even though they did not have any clinical symptoms before taking the test. In addition, their cognitive abilities appeared to be inferior to others.
Dr. Tabara found that about one-third of those who had had silent strokes two times or more could not stay balanced and 16 per cent of the people who found it difficult to balance had had a silent stroke once. About 30 per cent of the people who had microbleeding more than two times had trouble balancing, and the corresponding rate in those who had microbleeding once was 15 per cent.
“The authors of this study have developed a simple trial of balance to detect cerebral vascular disease. This easy test will help identify those who are most at risk of stroke and more severe brain damage,” states American neuroscientist Richard Libman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University, in “Myasthenia mimicking vertebrobasilar encephalitis.”
Dr. Tabara, who chaired the study, confirmed the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health. We should do it often to detect the risk of brain disease and cognitive decline.
Practice standing on one leg to detect stroke risk and improve your health
In a book by Thai Hong Quang (monk, doctor and president of the Hong Kong Sociological Health Research Association), standing on one leg is recommended as an extremely useful exercise to improve health.
According to Dr. Quang, there are six meridians at the foot. When standing on one leg, the sensitivity and responsiveness of these meridians determine the body’s ability to maintain balance, while jammed meridians will cause pain.
The six meridians at the foot have many important acupuncture points and also link to vital organs such as the stomach, lungs, bladder, kidneys, gallbladder, and liver. Thus, standing on one leg is a simple health checkup, and is also a convenient way to qigong exercise the meridians which promote the balance of your organs.
The kidney and liver meridians (at the foot) affect the nervous system. The liver meridians can influence our stress levels and blood pressure due to stress. Therefore, this exercise is effective for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or Parkinson.
In addition, bladder and gallbladder meridians at the foot crossing through the leg, back, and back of the neck, can help regulate qi and blood flow in these areas, helping to relieve leg pain, back pain, and neck pain.
Ask a person to time you in this posture.
According to Thai Hong Quang, if you are 45 years old and can stand on one leg for 15 seconds, this is a good sign.
For older people, in the early days of training, make sure there is someone close by in case they fall.
You can stand on one leg to check your balance as follows:
Stand straight, close your eyes, put your hands together or fold your arms in front of your chest, keep the left leg still, place right foot on the inner thigh above the left knee. After standing in position, open your eyes.
- If you can stand still: the balance of your body is good.
- If you fall down: the balance of the body is in disorder. This phenomenon is related to the cerebellum or vestibular nerve.
Standing on one leg and body temperature
In nature, we see the phenomenon of the birds pulling one leg up while sleeping during the night when the weather gets colder.
When it is cold at night, people in bed often bend their legs and feel warmer. The verse: ‘Manage well with little food to be full, bend your body to be warm (Learn to live simply)’, is the unique lesson from our ancestor.
According to oriental study of the Yijing (or Classic of Changes), Lí trigram is of fire nature, generating heat. The image of Lí represents a person bending his knee or a bird with one leg up. In this position, Lí will generate Fire (heat) to give warmth, help raise body temperature and fight against the cold outside.
On cold days and nights, blood circulation does not circulate well leading to congestion. Contraction of blood vessels can lead to higher blood pressure, increases the risk of stroke. In this weather, it is best to practice standing on one leg every night to check if your blood circulation is good or not. If it is good, lucky for you.
If it is not good or bad, you should exercise to improve circulation and balance by standing on one leg. Stand for 1 minute, then switch to the other leg. Do it for about five minutes a day in the evening (if you can, practice both in the morning and evening). It will help you keep warm, promote blood circulation and adjust the balance of your body.
A few minutes with a simple stance can bring great benefits to your life, so why not start practicing?
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt