Balance is defined as the ability to control the body’s position, or distribute your weight to stay upright and steady.
Balance is important for fall-prevention, but it’s also important to be in tune with your body so that rather than leaving balance to chance, you’ll know how to activate the right muscles while completing exercises or daily tasks requiring balance.
People often say, “I don’t have good balance,” as if balance cannot be improved.
Balance is about equilibrium, but it’s also about utilizing, and strengthening, the muscles used for stabilizing and joint support.
Balance exercises are especially important for seniors, but why wait? Why not meet that challenge early on and head-on, by incorporating balance exercises into your training?
Here are exercise ideas to develop your balance, from easiest to more difficult:
~ Balance on one leg.
~ Balance on one leg while moving the opposite leg in various ways.
~ Balance on one leg while circling the arms, throwing and catching a ball, or passing a weight from hand to hand.
~ Walk heel to toe, forward and backward.
~ Sit on a stability ball and lift and hold one leg.
~ Practice balance exercises while barefoot.
~ Balance on one leg and close your eyes.
~ Balance on one leg on a pillow, BOSU, wobble board or other unstable surface.
~ Perform upper body exercises while standing on one foot or with feet staggered in “tightrope” position.
~ Hop in place and land on one foot.
~ Hop forward and back or side to side, landing on one foot.
~ Balance on one leg and reach forward to touch the floor.
Begin practicing these with a base of support nearby, such as a high chair back, for safety. Progress from holding on with both hands to holding on with one hand only; then to using a light touch only; then to hands near but not touching; and finally to doing them away from the base of support.
In addition to improving your balance, these exercises will also make all physical activity easier, take your fitness to the next level, and help you firm and tone your abs – maybe even achieve that elusive six-pack?
Here’s a Quickie Workout that focuses on balance!
How is your balance? Do you work to improve it? If so, how?