It is so common in classes for us to hear the statement “My balance has always been terrible! Can it really improve?” The answer is a huge YES! There is a robust body of evidence that balance training can improve how steady we are on our feet and help prevent falls.
Balance training involves doing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. These kinds of exercises can improve stability and help prevent falls (which is especially critical for people with low bone density). A lot of lower-body strength-training exercises also help improve your balance.
It may be easier than you think to fit balance training into your daily routine. Try the suggestions below:
- Stand on one leg whenever you’re waiting in line at the supermarket, bank or on the train station.
- Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth: one minute on one leg while brushing the upper teeth, and another minute on the other leg while brushing the lower teeth. You get your full 2 minutes of teeth cleaning and some good balance training!
- Play with the kids or grandkids. If you recently saw the ABC program “Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds” the evidence of playing, balancing and getting outdoors with the kids was proven to have real benefits to the adults balance measures and physical ability.
- Ask someone to toss you a Frisbee or beach ball while you balance on one leg and then on the other.
- Practice sitting down and getting up from a chair without using your hands.
- Practice walking heel to toe — that is, like a tightrope walker, placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step.