Balance is an important part of our health and fitness. Yet many of us take our balance for granted.
When your balance is weak, injury recovery can take longer. It also leaves you more susceptible to tripping or falling.
So how do you improve your balance?
As a physiotherapist I frequently prescribe balance exercises as part of a patient’s rehabilitation following injury. However everyone – any age group – will benefit from practicing simple balance training on a daily basis.
In particular as lifestyles become more sedentary, the body can fall out of practice with easy everyday movements. Balance exercises are also recommended for the elderly.
Benefits of balancing exercises
- Reduced risk of falling
- Improved posture
- Improved muscle strength
- Reduced risk of injury during sports
- Improved body awareness and control
5 simple balancing exercises to try at home
You don’t need any equipment. Each exercise is designed so you can do it anytime, anywhere. Initially try each exercise for just 10 seconds, and increase to 30 seconds as you improve.
The videos on our exercise page shows you practically how to do all the exercises – and you will see descriptions below.
Stand tall, tummy tucked in. Shift your weight onto 1 foot and slide the opposite foot forwards with the toes touching the floor. Add side ways and backward sliding movements as you improve. Repeat x5 each leg.
Heel /toe walking
Stand tall. Place 1 foot directly in front of the other foot with the heel touching the toes and continue to walk this way for 20 steps. Repeat 5 times
Stand tall, tummy tucked in . Lift 1 leg up to 90 degrees and hold it there for 10 to 30 seconds. To make it harder try swinging the lifted leg back and forth.
Leg floor touch
Stand tall, tummy tight, lean forward to touch the floor and stand up again. If this is too difficult then only bend half way to touch seat pad or sofa arm. Repeat 5 times each side.
Teeth cleaning / tying shoe lace – yes really!
If your balance is good, try cleaning your teeth whilst standing on 1 leg or tying your shoes. A good exercise if you have very little time to spare.
All these exercises can be adapted as you improve to make them more difficult.
- Increase the time from 10 to 30 seconds.
- Introduce more body movement with arm or leg swings or use hand weights
- Try standing on an uneven surface such as a pillow.
Make sure you stay safe and hold on for support if necessary. Gradually reduce support as you progress. Remember, it’s never too late or too early to improve your balance.
If you are struggling with your balance, it’s always worth getting yourself checked out by a physiotherapist, so weak areas can be identified.
Just call the clinic 020 8943 2424 to arrange an appointment.