Good balance is required for just about everything we do such as walking, standing still, getting out of a chair and bending over just to pick something up from the floor. Balance skills may not come naturally to some and this skill needs to be work at with consistency. Balance training strengthens the muscles that keep us upright and stable. This includes our legs and core muscles and working on these will improve stability and prevent falls later on in our lives.
Balance exercises can be somewhat challenging depending on your own balancing skills. Intense exercises such as yoga type poses are best left to the more experienced exerciser. Simple exercises that can test your balance skills lasting from seconds to minutes, can be a better choice for gradual improvements without too much risk to the exerciser. You can also use equipment that forces your stabilising muscles to engage, such as a Bosu stability ball or balance board. Try testing your balancing skills with these simple but effect examples:
- Standing with your weight on one leg.....raise your other leg to the side or behind you.
- Walking the tightrope.....place your heel directly in front of your opposite foot's toes and walk the imaginary tightrope. Walk forward and then try walking backward.
- Stand up and sit down repetitively from a chair without using your hands for around a minute
- Table Top....Starting position on all fours, head in line with the spine, focusing on a point on the floor in front of you, engage your core and slowly extend your right leg and left arm simultaneously, holding the position for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat using the left leg and right arm.
- Holding the positions or increasing the moves for a longer amount of time
- Closing your eyes whilst performing the moves
- Holding the positions steadily without using your arms to aid your balance.
- Add movement to a pose