Adults face a serious issue of losing body control with age. Balancing can be learned, challenged, and improved. Balance training aids come in a variety of forms, but equipment is an option. You can easily improve your balance with little or no fancy gear and prevent falls & injury.
1. Single limb stance
Hold on to a chair and balance on one leg. Try a few seconds balancing on each foot. Work up to a minute if you can. Then begin to hold on with one hand, then one finger and finally try to let go completely.
Note: Feel your center of gravity over your ankles.
2. Eye tracking
This exercise targets your vision and vestibular system. Use your hand or thumb to perform the movements rom near your eyes taking it further and then back. Once you feel more secure, then try letting go of your hand briefly, then for longer periods.
This exercise can sometimes make you dizzy. If this happens, stop the exercise. Try it again with smaller head movements next time.
3. Clock reach
Begin by holding on to a chair with your left hand. Visualize a clock with 12 in front and 6 behind. Stand on your left leg and bring your right arm to 12 o’clock. Then reach to 3 and 6 o’clock. Repeat with the other side.
4. Staggered stance
Begin with feet together and hands at sides. Step forward with your right foot. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. Alternate putting the other foot in front. It may take a while but keep practicing…you’ll get it sooner or later!
5. Single limb with arm
Stand with feet together and arms at sides. Hold on to a chair with your right hand for support if needed. Raise your left arm overhead. Then raise your left leg off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Then repeat for the right side. Lift your chest and bring your shoulders back.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
6. Balancing wand
This is a fun exercise. Use a cane, broom or even an umbrella. Try holding a wand in your dominant hand. Focus at the top of the wand and begin balancing.
7. Knee marching
Try this one next to a counter so you can hold on when performing knee marching. This is a great cardio exercise and for leg muscle weakness. Stand with arms at sides, feet shoulder width apart. Raise one knee up as high as comfortable. Lower, then raise the other knee. Repeat 20 times.
8. Body circles
This exercise for improving balance can be a little tricky. Keep a chair nearby if you are uncomfortable without one. Make sure your knees and hips are kept straight when you circle. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands at sides. Keeping your body straight, slowly sway in a circle. Continue for 1 minute.
9. Heel to toe
Only try this balance exercise when you have become good at the preceding exercises. If you have a painters’ tape, place an 8 to 12-foot piece in a straight line on the carpet or floor. This will allow you to maintain a straighter line when performing the walking exercises. Begin by standing with one foot in front of the other. Step forward placing one foot in line with the other. Continue to step placing right foot in front of left.
Seniors who dance will be more familiar with these balance exercises. Begin standing with arms at sides, feet together. Step across in front of your left foot with right leg. Continue to step sideways uncrossing the right leg. Reverse and cross your right leg behind your left leg. Continue to step sideways, uncrossing the left leg.
Walk several steps in one direction, turn around and walk back. Continue for several minutes. Gradually hold on less and less until you can take a few steps without holding on.
It may take a while but keep practicing…you’ll get it sooner or later!
Note: Use your one-pound wrist weight here to increase your workout.
All these exercises have a therapeutic benefit and can serve you well.