Being off-balance can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. It can lead to vertigo, dizziness and even cause you to fall over or get hurt. If you’re suffering from balance issues, it’s time to get back on track. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy at-home exercises that only take up a few minutes of time that can help you regain both your strength and balance. To help you get started, take a look at our top six ways to improve your balance, strengthen your muscles, and prevent falls and other accidents.
1. One-legged stands
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Standing on one leg is an easy and efficient way to improve your balance. Many of us take our balance for granted. However, over time, our muscles can lose their strength and make it difficult for us to stand upright. By standing on one leg, you’ll be able to strengthen core muscles in your legs and abdomen to keep you steady.
Some ways to do this simple exercise include:
- Holding this pose for 30 seconds on each leg while washing dishes
- Standing on one leg during commercial breaks
- Practicing this pose before bed
When performing one-legged stands, make sure you’re near an object you can hold onto in case you lose your balance, such as a door frame or chair. Over time, try practicing this stance on a less stable surface, such as a couch cushion or pillow.
2. Shoe inserts
Sometimes, a simple shoe insert is all you need to restore your balance. Arch support inserts can be designed to fit your foot’s form and can be inserted into any type of footwear, such as boots, shoes, and athletic trainers. Shoe inserts can provide you with much-needed structure and comfort to keep you balanced throughout the day and decrease your chance of losing balance and getting hurt.
Yoga is an excellent way to not only improve your balance but your overall wellbeing. Through yoga, you can work muscles responsible for holding you steady while walking, standing, or making other movements. With a yoga mat and a virtual yoga class, you can target core muscles to strengthen and stretch them right at home.
4. Heel to toe walk
Walking heel to toe, just as policemen and women ask drunk drivers to do, can improve your balance. Next time you’re walking, take a minute to focus on your gait, carefully walk with your heel landing first, and roll to your toes. Then, make the same motion, but in reverse, and walk toe to heel backward. Doing so for about 20 paces can improve your balance. You can also use a resistance band to make this exercise more challenging. Walk near a wall for extra support just in case you feel unsteady.
5. Toe stand
Another simple exercise is doing toe stands, also called calf raises or heel raises. To perform this exercise, hold onto a chair or ledge and slowly raise your heels off the ground. This exercise can strengthen your ankle and calf muscles, which bring a stronger balance boost. Repeat this motion about every second for up to a minute. Then, you can rest and do another set.
Your legs and pelvis are essential muscles that support balance. Doing squats specifically targets muscles found throughout your legs, such as your quads, pelvis, glutes, and calves.
To perform squats, stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Then, place your toes forward and bend your knees and slowly squat down as if you’re about to sit in a chair. During this exercise, you want to make sure your posture is in line with your weight in your heels and your arms raised out in front of you. You can then repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times and do multiple sets with a break in between.
If you want to make it more challenging, you can use a kettlebell or dumbbell and hold it in front of you while squatting. This can help strengthen these muscles over time.
Losing your balance can have some serious health implications, such as scrapes, bruises, and even broken bones. To prevent any of these unfortunate events from occurring, it’s important to strengthen your body’s core muscles to improve your balance, especially if you’re beginning to age. From one-legged stands to squats, these are just some of the ways you can improve your balance.
Featured Photo by Kaylee Garrett on Unsplash