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.
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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.
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.
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.
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?
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