I try to incorporate balance training into my classes often because it’s as important and cardiovascular conditioning, developing strength and flexibility. And as we age, having good balance will become even more beneficial. Ouch, that aging thing again.
Trips, falls, dropping things, bumping into tables,chairs, etc. are all by-products of bad balance. Some of the benefits of balance training are improved coordination, better joint stability, better reaction time and overall improved long-term health.
Many yoga poses work on balance and even doing a short 10 minute practice will provide some key movements.
One legged exercises such as pistol squats (full or modified), single leg dead lifts, rear lunges with a knee up, single leg calf raises are great options as are exercises incorporating a BOSU ball or Stability ball
If you are starting out with the balance game here are two exercises that you can try (courtesy of the NIH). Note – please consult with your physician prior to beginning an exercise program.
Standing on One Foot (for extra stability start by holding on to a chair or close to a wall).
- Stand facing a chair or wall with feet hips-width apart, keep your gaze straight.
- Engage your core (shoulders down, pull your belly button in)
- Place one hand on chair for stability, then without looking down, lift your right foot off the ground, trying to keep your thigh parallel to the ground. Hold. Slowly replace foot to ground, repeat on other side.
- Alternate legs for 30 – 45 seconds
Heel Toe Walk
- Stand with one foot in front of the other (as if you are on a tightrope)
- Extend your arms out wide for balance
- Keep your gaze forward, engage your core start walking heel to toe for 30-45 seconds.
Try adding some balance training a few times per week into your regular routine. For better health.
Now go run!