Balance is part of our everyday function. Balance training involves performing certain movements that strengthens the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. Having good balance allows you to walk without assistance and helps prevent injury.
And while it may be apparent when someone has particularly good or bad balance, there is actually much more happening internally than what we can see on the outside. The most common sources of declined balance are external substances and the aging process. But, there are things you can do to improve your sense of balance for the long run, and they can be done by anyone, regardless of age or ability. Though it might not cross your mind, you need good balance to do just about everything, including walking, running, getting out of a chair, standing while leaning over to tie your shoes and even working out. During the initial phase of my new clients training sessions, many are very surprised how poor their balance really is with some of the basic movements I ask of them. Having strong muscles and being able to keep yourself steady makes all the difference in those and many other things you do each day. Working on your balance might not be top priority in your adulthood, until it has become a serious issue and by that point, you could be on the ground with one slip of your footing. But improving your equilibrium can be easy by simply adding balance exercises to your training routine and paying attention to potential sources of balance impairments. Doing balance exercises can range from simple to intense movements. Some movements are as simple as standing on one leg for a few seconds and as intense as balancing on a bosu ball. You can do balance exercises as often as you'd like, even every day. Add in two days a week of strength training, which also helps improve your balance by working the muscles that keep you stable.
Examples of balance movements include:
- Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or in front of you
- Hoping on one foot
- Putting your heel right in front of your toe, like walking a tightrope
- Using a stability tool such as a bosu ball
You can improve your balance with these movements overtime:
- Holding the position for a longer amount of time
- Using a focal point to reach for with your hand
- Adding movement to a pose
- Closing your eyes
Single Leg Lift:
- Stand with feet at hip width.
- Keeping your head straight take a deep breath and slowly lift your right leg off of the floor. As you become more confident with the position bring your leg higher so that your knee is as close to your chest as you can comfortably manage.
- If you wobble and lose your balance, simply begin again or use your opposite arm to assist your balance.
- Hold for 10 to 15 seconds on each leg. Perform 5 times on each leg.
- Repeat with your other leg
Ashley LaMorte is a nationally certified fitness instructor and has been in the fitness industry for many years. Over the years Ashley has gotten the opportunity to instruct group X boot camps at gyms and train private clients from all walks of life, all over the bay area. She now has her own mobile fitness business LaMorte Lift. You can learn more about Ashley at LaMorteLift.com