Exercises to improve the balance are not only for the older people, but it is even more important for youngsters. Regular exercise not only improves your stamina and flexibility, but also aids in better balance. Even a lot of sportsmen and sportswomen have benefitted a lot by doing the balance exercises. It has improved their overall fitness levels and performance too. Any kind of exercise requires some amount of balance and older age people have found that improved balance or by doing balance exercises has helped them prevent injuries from falls without sacrificing their independence.
Fitness enthusiasts have experienced better performance in their workout activities due to the balance training. To move around and to do your daily activities it is necessary to have a good balance and postural alignment. Let’s have a look at how balance plays an important role in life and explore different exercise to improve your balance.
Balance is divided into two types, primarily the static and the dynamic type. Static balance helps maintain the body’s center of mass within its base of support. Dynamic balance is one that has the ability to move outside of the body’s base of support while maintaining the posture control. Both these types of balance are important for the body and with regular exercise you can better your balance.
Balance training for everyone
Athletes use proprioceptive training all the times as an exercise after an injury or to recover after any injury and to prevent any injuries. Proprioception is a sense of joint position. Balance exercises help the athlete gain some control and create an awareness of his or her joints and how they function when the body is in motion. Athletes suffer from ankle injuries a lot due to turning, twisting, starting and stopping, which is quite normal because of the heavy physical activity they do. Even an athlete with the strongest ankle can get injured if he has not trained the neuromuscular system to react under the specific surfaces.
By indulging in balance training, an athlete can enjoy more power and force because they learn to use their centre of gravity efficiently. A strong and well exercised core helps you jump higher, run faster and throw farther.
For the seniors
Consequences of a fall can be pretty serious for seniors. Did you know that thousands of senior adults lose their life due to falls and broken hips in the United States alone? A senior adult can at the very least will experience loss of independence after a fall, but the consequences can be severe too. Seniors can also improve their balance by performing balance exercises just like the athletes who train their body for improved balance and agility.
According to the Harvard health reports, regular exercise program reduce falls that cause injuries by 37 percent, fall causing serious injuries by 43 percent and broken bones by 61 percent.
For an average person
Balance training is suitable for everyone and the benefits of doing balance training are well known. The following are some of the benefits of balance training.
Balance training teaches the body to use the core for stabilization
Improves the neuromuscular coordination by getting the brain to talk to the muscles
Helps burn more calories. With an improved balance, the body is able to work harder
Creates muscle balance in the body
Keeping all these benefits in mind, you can now design a few balance improvement workouts that can be incorporated into your daily life from today. Following are some of the ways to do this at home and they include:
Standing on one foot while you brush your teeth. Change the feet halfway through
If you drop any stuff, then use only one leg to pick it up and lift the other leg straight behind you. Keep the abs tight
Skip the sofa and chair and try sitting on a stability chair at home and office
When you consider exercises for balance training, one of the best tools to own is a BOSU (both sides up). BOSU is a half ball with a flat platform. This is named BOSU because you can exercise on both the side of the ball or on the flat side. A BOSU provides an unstable surface on which you can practice lunges, squats, planks, jumps and several other exercises. If you don’t have access to BOSU, you can modify by folding a mat in half and standing on it or rolling up a towel. Any type of unstable surface is enough. If you are struggling with balance, then don’t use any extra equipment, just practice these balance exercises on the floor.
Standing Tree Pose
- The standing tree pose is great on a BOSU, folded mat or on the floor. It will help strengthen the ankles, improve the balance and engage your core.
- Stand with the feet together, spine tall and the arms outstretched. If you are on the BOSU, either the ball side or the flat side can be a challenge. Try out both
- Slowly lift your left foot up to the side of your calf and balance on the right foot only
- Slowly lift the arms overhead to make the branches of the tree. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch the legs
Single Leg Deadlift
- This pose not only strengthens your hamstrings and glutes, but is a good challenge for your balance and forces you to pull your abs in tightly with or without dumbbells.
- Stand on either the ball side of the BOSU or on the floor with feet held close together transferring all the weight on your right foot
- Stare at a point on the floor in front of you and slowly lower your straight and long spine downward while you try to reach hands towards the floor
- Stop when your back is parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee soft
- Squeeze the hamstrings, glutes and abs, as you slowly bring your back up and return back foot to the floor. Switch sides. Try for 8 exercises for each side
- Dead bug is one of the best core exercises around. This will challenge the transverse abdominus and teaches the core to stabilize than any other move.
- Sit down just in front of the bullseye center of the BOSU. Place the feet wide and stable on the floor
- Slowly lower the back until you are laying on the BOSU with the low back on or slightly in front of the bullseye
- Pull your abdominals in very tightly and reach the arms out wide
- Slowly lift one leg at a time keeping them wide so that your arms and legs look like a “dead bug”. If you cannot hold for even a few seconds, then push your body back a few inches so that more of your lower back and glutes are on the BOSU
Squats on the BOSU
- Using the unstable surface of the BOSU for your basic squat workouts will train your body to grip all the right muscles at the right time.
- Stand on the ball side of the BOSU with feet hip-width apart
- Sit in a squat position with the weight sinking into heels
- Squeeze glutes tightly as you press back up to standing position. Try 8-10 reps
Balancing Reverse Lunges
- Lunges are basically a balance activity because you are ending up on one leg at a time.
- It can be even more challenging when standing on a BOSU ball or on a folded mat.
- Stand on top of the ball side of the BOSU with feet close together
- Bending the right knee, slowly stretch the left leg behind you onto the floor until both the knees are bent
- Press straight up through your right leg as you return the left foot to the top of the BOSU. Switch the legs and try for 8-10 reps per leg
balance exercises / exercises to improve balance