Finding Your Balance: Some Simple Yet Important Exercises
Balance is one of those things in life that becomes more of a challenge as we age. Many people do regular exercises such as walking, strength or flexibility training, but most of us don’t consider whether the exercises we do are helping maintain our balance.
Try the following exercises three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. Have a sturdy chair by your side in case you begin to lose your balance. Since everyone’s balance level is different, here are some alterations you can make to try: Instead of holding on with two hand try one hand, two fingers, one finger or not at all. It is important to challenge yourself or you won’t improve, but safety comes first.
5 Stage Tandem Series (Repeat 3 to 5 times – hold each stage for 5 to 10 seconds.)
- Put both feet together side by side.
- Take a small step forward with your right leg. Hold.
- Move your right foot in front of your left as if walking a tight rope. Hold.
- Bring feet together again and take small step backwards with right foot. Hold.
- Move your right foot behind your left as if walking a tight rope. Hold.
- Repeat all steps with left leg.
Pillow Stand (Repeat 3 to 5 times.)
- Take a pillow (couch pillows work well) and place on ground.
- Step on pillow and try to hold stance.
- Try both feet together, one foot or even tight rope-style to add difficulty.
Steps (Perform 10 times on each leg, repeating 1 to 3 times.)
- Step up, then down with right foot. Repeat. Step up, then down with left foot.
- Follow same as above, but step up and down sideways.
- For more challenge, try the same exercise stepping backwards or over an object.
Leg Lifts (Perform 10 times on each leg and repeat 1 to 3 times.)
- Stand on one leg. Kick the other leg to the front, back or side, keeping knee straight.
- Switch to the other leg and repeat above.
Single Leg Stance (Repeat 3 to 5 times.)
- Focus on a point on the wall.
- Lift one foot off the ground forward, backward or sideways. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat with other foot.