Out of the many factors that determine your health and fitness level, the most important ones are strength, speed, endurance, and balance. Yes, balance! The fun fact here is that maintaining balance is about your physique and your mental stability. The cerebellum, an integral part of your brain, coupled with the core, which includes everything that surrounds your spine- together coordinate to strike the right balance. Lopsided or poor coordination between the two can increase the difficulty in controlling and maintaining the balance of your body while performing any physical activity.
However, if this happens, you can still improve your balance with active diagnosis or treatment. In addition to that, it is always advisable to practice some basic balance exercises so that your body is trained to ensure good balance. In this guide, we shall look at some useful balance exercises and how you can perform them. Let’s get started!
You may question the effectiveness of such exercises and wonder whether they actually work or not. Well, to address the doubt, balance exercises are specifically designed to train your brain and body to coordinate properly. These exercises can be done by anyone, no matter what your fitness level is. You can also increase the duration or intensity as you progress to achieve a good balance. Of course, you won’t be able to see the results immediately. Still, with consistent practice and a slight progressive overload, you will be able to improve your balance with time. It takes approximately 10 to 12 weeks for noticeable differences, and soon after, you’ll start making major progress too.
The flamingo stand is an excellent exercise, suitable for any older adult wanting to improve balance and coordination. Here’s how you can do it:
- First of all, stand with your feet in a straight line.
- Then lift your right leg such that a 90-degree angle is created and hold the position for 10 seconds.
- Place your leg back, and then do the same with your left leg too.
- Make sure your face, neck, and back are all in a straight line, even when you bend your knees.
To increase the difficulty, you can raise the duration from 10 to 20 seconds and so on. You may also use a chair’s support at the start.
Doctors often recommend this exercise to help patients recover from imbalance or poor balance. Here’s how you can do it:
- Before anything else, draw a straight line using chalk or a pen on the floor.
- Lift your arms, so they are parallel to the floor, and stand with your feet together on the line.
- Now start taking steps on it, such that your feet touch from heel to toe of the opposite legs, alternately.
- Keep doing this for 15-30 steps continuously, and keep increasing the count.
Make sure you achieve complete control over your feet so they are in line and you don’t lose balance.
The tightrope walk is yet another walking exercise, quite similar to the one mentioned before. The only difference is that in this, we use a rope.
- For this, you would need a rope or string. Both You must tie the ends of it to two poles.
- Place your arms on your hip and start walking slowly on the rope.
- Make sure you focus on only one step at a time.
- Try to stay on the rope at all times.
- In case you trip, start again until you hit a target of 15 steps.
After finishing 15 steps, you can continue extending your target to 20 steps, 30 steps, and so on until you become comfortable.
Seated Leg Raises
Seated leg raises are best for people coping with Parkinson’s disease as its common symptom is imbalance. For doing this:
- Sit on a chair with your feet hip-width and your back straight.
- Then bring your left foot up as you straighten your knee and then place it back.
- Do the same with your right leg and continue alternating between the two.
- You can start by doing two sets of 10 reps and gradually keep increasing it.
You can start using ankle weights if you don’t sense any difficulty even after increasing the number of reps and sets.
All in all, know that balance plays a crucial role in keeping your mind and body activated. It promotes more confidence and coordination among individuals and can also prevent falls. By practicing these few exercises regularly, you can improve your balance within a matter of few weeks.