Many of us don’t even think about our body’s ability to balance – isn’t it just the elderly that have to worry about it? Balance training is important for everyone. It goes hand-in-hand with cardio, resistance and flexibility training.
Good balance plays a significant role in strengthening and stabilizing joints and allows the body to function and move efficiently.
No doubt if you are already exercising or playing sport then you are, without thinking about it, working on your balance.
However, more sedentary people tend to have poor balance. This increases the risk of injuries like twisted or sprained ankles and broken bones, as falls are often due to poor balance.
No matter where you are in the range of poor to good balance, you can improve it, enhance it and maintain it with time and consistent practice. Here are a few simple exercises to practice daily:
- Balance on one leg for 30 seconds. If you start to wobble, bend the leg slightly at the knee. Keeping your eyes focused on something straight ahead of you can make balancing slightly easier as it keeps you stable. Slowly increase the time, your goal is to eventually remain stable for one minute.
- As you improve, start moving your head from side to side and up and down. This stops your eyes from focusing and will force you to balance your body.
- Again as you start to improve try closing your eyes, as without the visual awareness you will be required sense and feel which way you are leaning.
- When this becomes too easy, hold a ball in your hands while balancing on one leg. Toss the ball either in the air slightly in front of you or against a wall and catch it. As you are now concentrating on the ball, your body will need to focus on remaining balanced.
- The last exercise is to incorporate a hop. While balancing on one leg, hop into the air slightly and then land on the opposite leg. Get your balance back and stable yourself, then repeat on the other leg. Your goal is to be able to hop from one leg to the other without stumbling for about 3 minutes.
With just five minutes a day you will very quickly notice improvements in your balance (a physiotherapist/personal trainer can prescribe more detailed balance exercises if required). Keep your regular exercises up to maintain your good balance throughout the rest of your well-balanced life!