Balance Exercises: That Build Stability, Strength, & Flexibility

Balance Exercises: That Build Stability, Strength, & Flexibility

Balance Exercises: Being clumsy is one thing, and everyone has had their fair share of Three Stooges moments. When you become older, though, no one laughs about balance—falling is one of the most significant medical problems, according to the CDC, injuring millions of individuals each year.

Balance is an important survival skill, yet it is also fragile. “As we become older, changes and deterioration of the musculoskeletal system (weaker muscles and loss of bone density). After we become 30, the muscles that allow us to stand tall gradually deteriorate (yes, only 30). Our stride length shortens, our step tempo decreases, and our vision, crucial for coordination, gets blurry.

“However, ageing isn’t the only factor that causes people to lose their sense of security,” says A. Lynn Millar, PhD, a physical therapy professor at Winston-Salem State University. “It’s a case of ‘use it or lose it.'” If you stay active, you may keep it.” Stretching and practicing exercises that develop flexibility and coordination, such as yoga, tai chi, strength training, and light cardio daily, can help you avoid dangerous falls.

How to test your balance?

Balance Exercises

Although we lose our balance over time, the changes might be subtle, and we may be unaware that our coordination is deteriorating. Try these three balance tests if you’re unsure about your balance and coordination:

  1. On both feet: Stand Close your eyes and stand with your feet together, anklebones touching, and arms folded across your chest. Have someone keep track of your time: Though swaying is natural, you should be able to stand for at least 60 seconds without shifting your feet. Close your eyes and place one foot directly in front of the other. On both sides, you should be able to stand for at least 38 seconds. If you fall, make sure there is cushioning around you or someone to catch you.
  1. On one foot: Stand Standing on one foot, bend the other knee and lift your nonsporting foot off the floor without allowing it to touch the standing leg. If you’re doing this in a doorway, you’ll be able to hold the sides if you start to fall. Rep with your eyes closed. People under 60 can usually hold the stance for 29 seconds with their eyes open and 21 seconds with their eyes closed. People in their sixties and seventies: 22 seconds with their eyes open, 10 seconds with their eyes closed. If you fall, make sure there is cushioning around you or someone to catch you.
  1. On ball of foot: Place nonsporting foot against the inside of the knee of your standing leg while standing on one foot with hands-on-hips. Raise your heel off the ground and hold the stance for 25 seconds. If you fall, make sure there is cushioning around you or someone to catch you.

Balance Exercises: How to get the most out of your balance workout

Before you begin your balance workouts:

  • Find a companion who will be able to spot you. Alternatively, place yourself near a chair or a wall to grab onto them if you lose your balance throughout the exercises.
  • Wear supportive sneakers. Begin by doing these exercises in sneakers, and as you gain strength, attempt them barefoot to help strengthen the muscles that balance the feet.
  • Decide on a focus point. Keep your sight fixated on a fixed object while doing these exercises to help with balance.
  • Gradually increase the number of dumbbells you use. Start with no weights and work your way up. You can graduate to increased weight and height and substitute a BOSU ball for a step after you feel stronger and can do the exercises without wobbling.

The finest balance exercises target the core and lower-body muscles to increase strength and flexibility so you can stay on your feet.

Stand on one leg

Balance Exercises

Attempt to do this while doing dishes or brushing your teeth. Standing on your right leg and lifting your knee to about hip level. Hold for five seconds before increasing to ten seconds. Return to the starting position with both feet on the floor, and then do one rep on the opposite side. On each side, repeat this movement five times. Stand on a less stable surface, such as a couch cushion, a step, or a BOSU ball, when you can hold the stance for 30 seconds on each side.

Balance Exercises-Lateral thigh lift

Balance Exercises

As in the step-up exercise, instead of elevating your knee in front, straighten your left leg and extend it out to the side while balancing on your right leg. Hold for five seconds, then repeat five times with the leg raised and lowered. Rep on the other side for a total of five reps. This action strengthens the outer thighs, which aid in lateral movements, such as stopping yourself if you slip or fall laterally. You can graduate to doing this move on a step once you feel comfortable with it.

Single-leg squat

Balance Exercises

Step your right leg up to about hip level from the floor, then slowly bend your standing left leg into a single leg squat. Try to touch the ground with your left toes. Rep on the other side, straightening the right leg to stand back up and stepping back down. On each side, repeat for five reps. Work your way up to five single-leg squats on the same side to advance. This provides additional muscular toning for your quadriceps and glute muscles, which strengthens your legs and improves your balance power.

Balance Exercises-Catch and hold

Balance Exercises

Start on one leg, step up to about hip level with your other leg, and then have a partner toss you a light ball or yoga block while trying to catch it. Because you are no longer gazing at a fixed point—your eye is on the moving object, and you are focused on hand-eye coordination, this puts a lot of strain on your balance. This functional exercise should be included in your regimen only after mastering the exercises listed above.

Tree Pose

Balance Exercises

Balance on your left leg while standing upright near a wall or chair. Raise your right foot within your inner thigh, calf, or ankle (avoid placing it on your inner knee). In a prayer formation, press your hands equally against each other. Repeat on the other side for five lengthy inhales and exhales. Close one or both eyes and raise your arms high to advance.

Balance Exercises-High Lunge

Balance Exercises

Bring your hands to your hips, step back into a lunge with your right leg, balancing on the ball of your right foot and heel off the ground. You can adjust by lowering your back left knee. Keep your hands at your hips or practice reaching for the sky.

Repeat on the opposite side for five lengthy inhales and exhales. This technique strengthens the glutes and quadriceps while stretching the hip flexors for better mobility.

Warrior III

Balance Exercises

Bring your hands to your chest in prayer from a standing position. Your right leg is bent at about hip level. Hinge from your hips and kick your right foot back as if stamping on a wall. For a straight back, bring your right pinky toe down towards your mat while looking just past the top of your mat.

You can practice extending your hands forward for Warrior III once you’ve gained some steadiness. This move improves balance by strengthening the ankles, glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Balance Exercises-Balancing half moon

Balance Exercises

Begin by bending into your left knee and tenting out your left fingertips from a high lunge with your right foot extended back. Shift forward till your fingertips are just past the mat’s top edge. As you try to stack your right hip over your left, lift your right foot off the mat.

Rotate your right toes up towards the sky to do this. For extra stability, keep your attention on the ground. However, Look up at the sky or raise your right hand upwards from your hip to walk forward. Repeat on the opposite side for five deep inhales and exhales. This pose improves the core, glutes, outer thighs, feet, and ankles for balance.