Balance is something most of us take for granted. We don’t usually give it much thought unless we experience challenges, such as dizziness, instability or even falling. Maintaining stability or having a firm center of gravity is critical for a number of daily activities and physical safety. For example, common tasks like walking, taking the stairs and even bringing the body to a standing from a sitting position require balance. Good balance also equals good posture. Balance tasks are owed to proprioception; the ability to sense the position, location and orientation of each body part in relation to other parts. Maintaining control of your body may become more difficult with age. You can avoid declines, and keep your sense of balance keen, with these basic exercises.
Balance on one foot
Balancing on one foot is one of the easiest exercises. There are several variations. Here are a few to try:
Single leg lift
– Keeping your head straight take a deep breath and slowly lift your right leg off of the floor. As you become more confident with the position bring your leg higher so that your knee is as close to your chest as you can comfortably manage.
– If you wobble and lose your balance, simply begin again or use your opposite arm to assist your balance.
– Repeat with your left leg.
Single leg side lift
– Stand with feet close together.
– Again, keep your eyes and head forward, steady your body and mind with a deep breath before lifting your right leg slowly to your side.
– Take care to keep your body erect as you lift your leg. In other words, lift without leaning.
– Repeat with your left leg.
Leg lift with dumbbells
– Make the front and side leg lift exercises more challenges by adding dumbbells.
– With dumbbell in hand at your left side follow the steps of the leg lift exercises.
– After your right leg is lifted, raise your left arm over your head
– Repeat with alternate arm and leg.
Balance on a stability ball
These large balls are a great addition to nearly every aspect of your exercise routine. Not only do they improve balance and posture, they also help strengthen your core. Get the benefits of a stability ball just by learning to sit on one without rolling or falling off. Practice at your desk or while watching television. One more bonus of the stability ball – it has been shown to improve focus, too.
This is a walk you have probably seen on television when an officer is testing for sobriety. To do it at home look for a straight line or place a piece of tape on the floor.
– Extend both arms straight out from your sides
– Keeping feet straight, place your right heel at the tip of your left toes.
– Next place your left heel at the tip of your right toes.
– Continue placing one foot in front of the other without straying from the line.
There are many ways to improve and maintain your balance. Try these exercises for just ten minutes a few times each week. Other basic strategies including standing from sitting without using your hands or standing on your heels and then your toes. If you are looking for more challenging ideas consider tai’ chi or even advanced yoga poses, such as headstands. If you are concerned about balance, be careful. Do not attempt any of these exercises without support.