I have been focusing with my clients on balance a lot lately. There are some incredible benefits to adding balance exercises to your daily routine.
For older adults, we should be working consistently on keeping our legs strong. As we age we become more and more susceptible to falls, which lead to broken and injured hips. Injuries to our hips are often one of the leading causes to adults become sedate and far less active. Hip injuries in older populations can become very debilitating.
Women are especially prone to falls and hip injuries.
Balance exercises can be beneficial for all of these reasons but they also go beyond just older populations. Athletes can greatly benefit from working on improving balance.
When we focus on exercises that throw us off of our center of gravity, we improve on the areas where we have imbalances in muscle strength. By working on these areas of weakness we are building strength from deep within our bodies.
Runners and athletes who make an effort to focus on balance will find improved muscle strength and may experience fewer injuries, especially ones due to overuse.
Bosu balls and balance trainers are great options for these exercises. Simply working on standing unassisted on a Bosu ball is a great start. In fact, after spending a few seconds wobbling around on the ball, you will start to notice your glutes, quads, calves, and ankles twitching. This is an indicator that things are working! Deep down in your tissue, those weakest muscles are working hard to keep you upright and you are making them stronger.
Don’t have access to these devices? Some of the best balance exercises can be done at home on your own.
Start by practicing to balance on one leg. Bend your free leg and lift it to approximately hip length. Work towards holding this position for up to 30 seconds. Once you can do this, try progressing to then extending the leg behind your body and reaching your hand towards the floor. Always do these exercises on both sides.
Yoga is a great practice for balance. Tree pose can be done at home. Try holding a tree pose while you chat on the phone. Alternate between legs and aim for a 30 second hold.
Once you have mastered these moves, you can work to make them even more difficult. Try closing one or both eyes as you hold these balancing positions.
Any of these exercises will strengthen your core and lower body and make you a stronger athlete!
Do you do any balance or other strength training exercises?