7 Exercises to improve balance
Balance is the key for everything.
Here are two great reasons to turn your workout into a balancing act: First, it helps activate deep core muscles to tighten the midsection; and second, if you’re an athlete, it’ll prepare you for that quick turn or lunge. Balancing exercises can especially benefit older adults by helping them prevent falls and maintain their independence. Listed below are a few exercises that can help you to improve your balance.
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Single leg balance
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, distribute your weight equally on both legs. Now, placing your hands on your hips, lift your left leg off the floor and bend it back at the knee. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of reps.
Place the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other foot. Take a step. Choosing a spot ahead of you and focussing on it will help you keep steady as you walk. Put your heel in front of the toe of your other foot. Do 20 steps.
This exercise is one step further the heel-to-toe walk. Raise your arms to the sides. Make sure they are in line with your shoulder. Walk in a straight line; you may focus on an object ahead to walk steadily. As you walk, lift the leg at the back. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward. Do 20 steps, while alternating legs.
Lift your right foot, bend it at the knee and raise it behind you at hip level. Your left foot should be placed firmly on the ground. Stretch both hands straight in front of you. Now, bend forward and extend your right leg straight behind you. Hold for 10 seconds before returning to the original position. Switch legs and repeat.
Stand with your feet placed together and lift your heels off the floor, balancing on your toes. Now, stretch your hands out to your sides; your palms must face forward. With your arms, pulse 1 inch forward and 1 inch back. Repeat with your palms turned toward the back of the room.
Sit on the floor and bend your knees so that your right foot crosses over the left foot at the ankle. Gently placing your hands on the knees, raise your feet off the floor. Lean back 45 degrees. With your hands loosely clasped in front of you, lower your elbow (first the right, then the left) toward the floor. (Keep your legs and spine in the same position; only your core will twist slightly as you move your arms.) Repeat 25 times on each side. Switch sides and repeat.
Side leg raises
Stand behind a sturdy chair and hold it for balance. Your feet should be placed slightly apart. Breathe in slowly. Now, while breathing out, lift your left leg out to the side. Your back should be straight and toes facing forward. Hold the position for 10 seconds before returning to the original posture. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg.
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