As we age, our balance often changes and can lead to difficulty with performing daily activities. Balance can be affected by many factors and may be altered by muscle weakness/reduced tone. Luckily balance can be worked on much the same as working on increasing your strength.
Try these easy exercises to improve your balance. As these moves become easier and you are able to stay stable while performing them, add additional repetitions to increase difficulty.
Beginner Exercises to Improve Balance
Sit to stand
Using a char, begin this move in a seated position. Slowly begin to stand. Once in a full standing position, slowly sit back down. This is one repetition. Repeat this for three sets of five repetitions.
Single leg lifts
Stand either in the corner or in front of a chair/counter. Attempt to lift one leg off of the ground. Focus on engaging your core and glute muscles. Hold up to 1 min. If stable, you can advance by adding in head turns or arm movements.
Using a piece of string or tape, create a straight line on the floor.
Start at one end of the line. Extend your arms to your sides.
Walk one foot in front of the other along the line, at least 15 steps. Repeat 5 times
Standing feet together eyes closed in corner
Stand in corner with chair in front of you. This provides protection on all sides of you so you can safely practice balance and correct any loss of balance. Place feet closely together and stand tall. Once you feel you have steady balance, attempt to close your eyes. This will be harder and you may feel an increase in sway. Have hands out in front of you so you can grab the chair at anytime. You can progress this exercise by standing on one foot.
If the above moves become too easy or you are looking to challenge your balance further, try these more advanced balance moves to really challenge your balance!
Advanced Exercises to Improve Balance
Using a Bosu ball, stand on top of ball with arms raised to your sides. Slowly squat down. Hold squat for three seconds and slowly return to a standing position.
Single leg deadlifts
Start this move in a standing position with legs shoulder width apart. Slowly lean forward while raising one leg straight behind you and your arms hanging straight down to form a “T’ shape and return to standing position. Repeat this move on the opposite leg.
To add more difficulty to this move, add a dumbell.
Single leg squat
Stand on one leg with your foot facing forward and the knee of your opposite leg slightly bent.
Lower yourself to a squat position with one leg while the other leg is extended in front of you. You may need to have your arms extended for additional help with balancing.
Step up to high knee
Step up on stair/step. Drive the opposite leg up into the air to a high knee position. Return the leg from the high knee position back to the ground. You should control the movement with the stance leg making sure that your knee stays in alignment with your ankle.
Side steps with resistance
Stand with band around ankles. Side step leading with heels. Do not let knees fall inward. You should be feeling the glutes on the side of your hips during this exercise. Keep your core tight and remain upright through your torso.