Best Balance Exercises
Balance training can assist anyone at any age. For seniors it can help maintain their independence preventing injuries from falls. For those that enjoy fitness and keeping active, it will improve stability in your workout and everyday life. Balance increases not only your strength but coordination assisting with basic activities of daily living such as carrying heavy loads or climbing the stairs.
Balance is divided into two types;
Static and dynamic balance. Static balance is the ability to uphold the body’s centre of mass with its base of support. Whereas, dynamic balance is the ability to move outside your body’s base of support while sustaining posture control. They both play an important role in enhancing our stability, flexibility and mobility making it easier to carry out daily tasks.
Fantastic balance exercises you can do at home are list below;
Single leg balance – if you are a beginner when it comes to the single leg balance, I suggest you have a chair or another stability aid to assist you. Lift one foot off the ground, do not allow your legs to touch. You can watch the clock and see how many seconds you are able to stand on one foot. Repeat this on the other leg.
Tightrope walk – it’s a simple activity you can do anywhere as it requires no equipment. You will need to hold your arms out straight from your sides and walk slowly in a straight line. It helps to focus on a spot in the distance to maintain your balance. You can take 15-20 steps. I recommend this exercise be performed under supervision if you lack confidence.
Dipping Bird – this is a great strengthening and stabilisation exercise that not only improves balance but also hip stability and hip power. Start by standing upright, then lift one leg shifting your weight. Keep a neutral spine as you “dip forward”. When you get to the end of your range of motion, squeeze your glutes (bottom) and slowly bring yourself back to the upright position. Repeat on other leg.
Back leg raise – if you are a beginner I suggest you have the back of a chair in front of you. Lift one leg while standing upright. Hold a chair as you raise one leg backwards without bending your knee. Hold for 3 seconds then lower leg placing your foot safely back on the floor. Repeat on other leg.
Double leg BOSU ball balance – now you are probably wondering what is a BOSU ball. It looks like an exercise ball cut in half with one side a flat platform. You can find them at most gyms or sport shops. This is a more advanced balance exercise as the ball provides an unstable surface requiring you to engaging and activate multiple muscle groups. Place ball flat side down, and stand on ball with both feet for 1 minute then step off. You can repeat this 3 times.
By Lara Watts, Exercise Physiologist.
Lara consults in Mount Barker at myPhysioSA and at The International Spine Centre in Adelaide