7 Exercises to Improve your Balance

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Good posture is defined as the position in which your body is under the least amount of stress. It can facilitate breathing, and prevent a number of unpleasant and possibly painful ailments from occurring. Your parents weren’t joking around when they kept telling you to “sit up straight!”

Improving your balance can promote proper posture. In turn, proper posture can improve balance. The two go hand in hand. And as we age, balance and posture become even more important. Muscular mass and the body’s balance systems decrease over time, increasing the risk of falls.

However, it is a significant aspect to incorporate into an exercise routine at any age. Balance practice can help increase the strength of the core and major stability muscles.
The best way to improve your balance? Practice!

Do the following 7 balance exercises 2-3 times a week to start improving your balance and posture, before it becomes a problem.

Single Leg Stance

The single leg stance exercise is the most basic balance exercise. It is great for beginners and progressions can be added to challenge the core and the body’s balance systems further.

How To:
1. Stand with a straight posture and feet together in front of a chair or table for support.
2. Lift one leg off the ground, and keep a slight bend in the supporting leg.
3. Hold for your personal best, and repeat for your opposite leg. Do each leg 3-5 times.

Tips & Tricks:
• To progress, stand on a pillow on a non-slip surface. It will challenge your balance further.
• Grab hold of the chair or table if you feel your balance failing.

Tandem Stance

The tandem stance is a similar exercise to the single leg stance but is slightly more challenging. Don’t let the fact that both your feet remain on the ground throughout the exercise fool you. It is harder than it looks! The tandem stance and single leg stance further help strengthen the tiny muscles and ligaments around the ankles.

How To:
1. Stand with a straight posture in front of a chair or table. Position one foot in front of the other. The heel of your front foot should just touch the toes of your back foot.
2. Hold the position for your personal best, and repeat with your opposite leg forward. Do each leg 3-5 times.

Tips & Tricks:
• To progress, stand on a pillow or a foam mat on a non-slip surface.
• Similar to the single leg stance, grab hold of the chair or table if you feel your balance going.

Single Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift strengthens the glutes. Strong glutes promote good posture which contributes to better balance and stability. Further, strong glutes can protect the lower back preventing injury from occurring.

How To:
1. Begin by standing tall, with your feet close together, but not touching.
2. Keep your back straight, and bend forward at the hip, lifting one leg straight back.
3. Keep the weight-bearing leg’s knee soft.
4. Lower your arms forward until your back in parallel with the ground.
5. Slowly come back up to start. Do 10 repetitions for 2-3 sets, for each leg.

Tips & Tricks:
• Hold a dumbbell in either hand for an additional challenge.

Pendulum Leg Swing

Pendulum leg swings are a step up from the single leg stance. This exercise adds a movement variable to challenge your core and balance.

How To:
1. Stand tall next to a chair or table for support, if needed.
2. Carefully swing one leg back and forth.
3. Repeat 10-15 times each leg for 2-3 sets.

Tips & Tricks:
• Make sure your upper body remains relatively stationary throughout the exercise. Focus on contracting the core to maintain a proper stationary posture.

Side-to-side Speed Skates

This exercise challenges your lateral stability. As humans, we are more solid with front and back balance. Side-to-side balance takes practice since we are not naturally inclined to move this way. The side-to-side speed skates exercise can, also, be done as a cardio exercise, if done fast enough. It can challenge your balance and get your heart rate up!

How To:
1. Begin standing tall with your feet about hip-width apart.
2. Jump to your right side leading with your right leg. Slightly bend your right leg. At the same time, cross your left leg behind.
3. You can choose to slightly tap the left toes down or to balance on the right leg only.
4. Push off from your right leg to the left. Lead with your left leg, and slightly bend your left leg upon landing. Cross your right leg behind.
5. Again, you can choose to slightly tap the right toes down or to balance on the left leg only.
6. Repeat back and forth for 10-15 reps and 2-3 sets.

Single Leg Star Lunge

The single leg star lunge will test your balance from all angles, as well as strengthen major leg muscles.

How To:
1. Cross four pieces of tape across each other with 45 degrees in between them. The tape pattern should create a star-like appearance with 8 points.
2. Stand in the middle of your star.
3. Balancing on one leg, slowly bring your opposite leg out to each side of the tape. There should be a total of 8 different ways you move the leg.
4. Make sure to keep a slight bend in the weight-bearing leg.
5. Switch legs and repeat. Do 3 times for each leg.

Tips & Tricks:
• If you are having trouble balancing, touch the toes or heel to the ground in each direction.
Single Leg Standing Crunches
Single leg standing crunches test your balance while targeting major abdominal muscles. The core muscles are responsible for the position of the trunk of your body. They keep your body upright and help re-stabilize the trunk when thrown off balance.

How To:
1. Stand tall with one foot a step back. Start with both arms straight up in the air.
2. Bring the knee of your back leg up toward your chest.
3. At the same time, bring both elbows down toward your knee.
4. Carefully bring the leg and arms back to start.
5. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets on each side.

Tips & Tricks:
• To further challenge your core and balance systems, do not touch the leg back down to the ground. Keep it slightly above the ground when bringing it back to start.

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About Melissa

Melissa is the Community and Content Marketing Manager at Lumo Bodytech. She spends her free time reading, doing karaoke, and training for her next triathlon.

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