We all know the classic adage “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. Whether or not we realize it, that’s how most of us view our balance. It isn’t something you think about until you realize it’s more of a challenge than you remember. Keep reading to learn why adding these simple balance training exercises can help you feel more confident on your feet.
Is Balance Important?
Did you know that lower extremity weakness plays a large role in balance deficits? That means that strengthening your core and lower body can help improve your balance and decrease your likelihood of falling! Or on the other hand, if you’ve recently sustained an injury that left you less active than normal, you may be experiencing deconditioning or weakness that can lead to difficulty with balance.
Health Benefits of Balance Training
Improving Spatial Cognition
Decrease risk of falls
Increasing reaction time
3 Balance Exercises For All Levels
When performing any of these exercises, remember to wear your sneakers and stay close to a wall or a large stable object in case you lose your balance. With each exercise, start by maintaining your balance for 10 seconds and build from there.
1. Tandem Stance
With a chair or table in front of you, place one foot directly in front of the other. The toes of your back foot should be touching the heel of your front foot. If this isn’t accessible for you right away, there can be space in between the two feet, as long as they are forming a line like a tightrope or balance beam. If holding on to the object in front of you is too easy, try to challenge yourself by lifting one or both arms. Repeat this on the other side with the opposite foot in front.
2. Single-Leg Stance
Making sure that you can grab onto a steady object, lift one foot off the ground and work to bring the knee up higher while keeping your balance. Start slowly and continue to work towards bringing your knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Repeat this balance exercise with the opposite side.
3. Grapevine Walking
Once you’re able to perform a tandem stance and single-leg stance, you can work your way up to grapevine walking. Before you begin, make sure that your floors are clear of any obstacles or tripping hazards. Begin by standing up straight and stepping over your left foot with your right leg. Then uncross your left leg so you are standing in the same position that you began. Continue grapevine walking for 10 steps, then repeat with the left foot crossing over the right for 10 steps. Once you are comfortable with this balance exercise, you can challenge yourself more by speeding up your steps – just remember to listen to your body to avoid falling!
Physical Therapy For Balance
In many cases, patients will come to us to improve their balance and we see that their fear of falling contributes to their struggles with balance. Working on balance exercises each day will help improve your balance, making you feel more confident as you do the activities you love. If you’re struggling with balance or have just sustained an injury from falling, contact Performance Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment to work on your balance with a physical therapist.