Health & Fitness

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Balance in Midlife

March 23, 2016

On Monday, we talked here on the blog about how important it is to maintain your balance as you age and an easy way to test how good your balance is right now. Did you see room for improvement? I know I did. Here are five simple ways we can work on improving our balance.

Stand on one leg

The simplest way to improve your balance is also surprisingly effective. Standing on one leg can build core strength as well. I’ve already started doing this every night while I’m brushing my teeth: alternating standing on one leg for as long as you can hold it. When you can stand on leg steadily for 30 seconds, try doing it on a pillow or other unsteady surface.

Almost Sitting

A personal trainer I had many years ago taught me this trick and I rarely see it mentioned anywhere. Take a regular kitchen chair and slowly lower yourself down into the chair as if you are going to sit in it, but don’t! Instead, start standing back up about an inch above the chair, all the while retaining good form. Do 10 a day, working up to 30. If you wobble when getting back up, try starting your journey back up from a higher point above the chair. The point is to retain good form. This was a great exercise when I was a young mom trying to fit in any exercise any chance I could because it really works the muscles and I can tell I need to work it back into my routine. I just did one repetition in order to write this description and I still feel it almost five minutes later.

Exercise on a Bosu Ball

If you already have a strength training program going, you might want to invest in a Bosu Ball. Or you if you belong to a gym, they probably have one you can use. With a Bosu Ball, you perform your regular strength training exercises, such as lunges, squats while standing on the ball’s unsteady surface. You can even just stand on it while simply doing your regular upper body work.  I worked out this summer with a trainer who used one to help me get over a lingering running injury and found it to be both humiliating and effective.

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Exercise on a Stability Ball

This falls into the category of similar, but different. A Bosu Ball is a $90+ investment unless you belong to a gym that has one, but you can typically pick up a stability ball for around $20. The Bosu Ball is a bit more flexible because you can stand on it, which I would not recommend you try on a stability ball, but you can still use the stability ball to provide some extra wobbliness, if you will, to crunches and upper body exercises. They can also be really fun to use.

Yoga

I’m going to confess here that I know barely anything about yoga which is appalling and almost careless in this day and age. I need to do a “Katy Does Yoga” series here so I can educate myself. But there are a few simple yoga poses that you can do to help your balance that don’t require a ton of experience to perfect.

One of the simplest to do is The Chair Pose which seems to be a close relative to the Almost Sitting exercise I learned so long ago. But check out this YouTube video – it looks so much cooler!

So there are a few ways we can work on improving our balance. Hopefully, we  all feel a bit more equipped to handle what’s coming up next. Oh my God, is that a grey hair?

 

14 Comments

  • Reply Why You Need Good Balance in Midlife and Beyond - Midlife Rambler March 23, 2016 at 7:00 am

    […] So, maintaining (or improving!) your balance is important. And if your balance isn’t great, what are some good ways to improve it? Wednesday’s post offers some tips for improving your balance. […]

  • Reply Dr. Margaret Rutherford March 23, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Great article Katy! I do about three of these – need to incorporate the others!

    • Reply Katy March 23, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Thanks for commenting Margaret. Im definitely bringing the chair exercises back in my life. They are surprisingly effective.

  • Reply Rica@YogaMatMonkey March 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Yoga is an amazing tool for improving both physical and emotional balance. Chair pose also works the lower body, which is an “asset,” emphasis on the ass! Great post!

    • Reply Katy March 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks Rica! Now I’m really motivated to give yoga a try!

  • Reply Kathy Dodd March 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    HI Katy – I just found your blog (and subscribed) and am having fun reading through all your posts! I am turning 53 this year and am so excited about this stage of my life. Your last two posts about flexibility and balance are spot on. I teach yoga and that chair pose (almost to the chair and back up) I thought I had made that up LOL. I just made this 5 minute video for a group of students I took on a yoga retreat to Mexico and it includes a long chair pose and a low lunge that starts to make squatting easier (if you can squat easily with heels on the floor it helps with getting up and down from the floor with grace) I also think balancing and moving at the same time is great for core strength. I hope its ok to put a link to the video here if you are interested in trying five minutes of yoga 🙂

    many blessings and keep up the good work!

  • Reply Gilly Maddison March 24, 2016 at 4:53 am

    I can balance pretty well with my eyes open but if I close them, oh dear! Will definitely be trying the nearly sitting down pose.

    • Reply Katy March 24, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Oh wow I haven’t even considered that! A whole new wrinkle to think of. Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply Marta Magna April 3, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Katy

    We follow each other on Instagram but i don’t think I’ve ever commented here on how much I enjoy your posts. Especially this one on exercise. It’s nice to know there’s people in the world you can relate to 🙂
    Marti

    • Reply Katy April 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks Marta! So glad you stopped by!

  • Reply Kathleen April 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    This post on ways to improve balance are so very helpful. Like Gilly, doing any of these with the eyes closed is a real challenge.
    I found your FEATURED pin on my Pinterest Game that published today.

    • Reply Katy April 8, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Thanks for stopping by Kathleen! I love your Pinterest game – will be by to play shortly.

  • Reply Gilly Maddison July 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Definitely a good idea to revisit this post! I had forgotten about the almost sitting pose and the video is a great help in getting it right.

    • Reply Katy July 30, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      I’m still very into balance and I’ve been trying out a balance board. It’s humbling but I can only get better!

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