Exercising your balance can help you walk better on uneven ground, and it can also help prevent falls. Moreover, balance exercises are a great way to increase muscular strength and improve posture. Falls can result in pain, fractures, or both for many people. If you have had minor falls in the past but recently have not been able to get back up on your feet without assistance, exercise could be the answer for you. Even if you have been told by a physician that there is nothing wrong with your balance, these exercises can help.
Even if you are in good shape and do not have any medical issues, you should exercise your balance and strength to improve muscle tone. A study conducted by the National Institute of Aging found that healthy participants who regularly exercised their body in a challenging way exhibited better balance than those who did not. Therefore, here are three exercises that can help you out.
1. Sideways Walking
Side walking is a simple exercise that does not require any equipment. Even if you are out of shape, walking on your side is beneficial. Recent studies have shown that it can improve balance even more than walking forwards in some cases.
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
- Keep your head level and shoulders relaxed, and walk sideways, keeping a straight line from one side to the other.
- You can walk sideways forward or backward if you like, but only go as far as you are comfortable with.
2. Rock the Boat
This exercise is a bit more challenging, but it can still be done without any equipment. It will work the muscles in your lower body as well since you are balancing on one leg and shifting your weight from side to side.
- Start by standing on one leg with the other leg bent and slightly touching the ground on its toes behind you. Keep your shoulders relaxed and arms at your sides.
- Rock back and forth as if you were trying to balance on a rocking boat in the water.
- Rock for 30 seconds then switch to the other side.
3. Chair Stand
Chair stands are a great way to build your strength and improve your balance, and they can be done in the comfort of your own home! This is another exercise that will challenge the muscles in your lower body because you have to spread out your weight on one leg while lifting yourself off the ground with the other leg alone.
- Stand with your back against a sturdy chair and the seat of the chair reaching up to your chest. It would be best if you kept both feet flat on the ground and positioned slightly in front of you.
- Lift one leg off the ground behind you as high as you can without moving your hips; it helps if you use your arms, too, to lift weight off the floor and support yourself using them.
- Slowly lower the leg back to the ground, and repeat with each leg fifteen times.
- To make it more challenging, try standing up from a seated position or exercising on an unstable surface such as a pillow or balance board.
If you are having difficulty walking on uneven ground or think that you might be at risk of falling, consider one of these exercises to help improve your balance. They will challenge your muscles and strengthen your body, and they can be done at home with little effort.