Can You Pass The Balance Challenge?
by Kathy Smith
You’ve probably heard that your weekly dose of exercise should be 150 minutes per week. And, you may have given yourself a high-five because you faithfully tie up your workout shoes every day. But even the most dedicated gym-goers can wind up with holes in their workout routine. There’s a high likelihood that you (yes….I’m looking at you) are missing one vital part of your routine…balance.
Yes, balance training helps to prevent falls as you age. And yes, it helps with core stabilization to help perfect your posture and improve coordination. But, it’s much more than that. Balance training also strengthens your neuromuscular coordination, meaning that it improves the communication between your muscles and brain.
In today’s blog, I’ll show you 4 techniques for beginning your balance training:
Let’s start by testing your level of stability. To do this, start by standing with a wide stance and slowly heel-toe your feet together…they should be touching. This is a very basic first step to test your balance. If this feels comfortable, move on to step two.
Take the Flamingo Challenge
This is a drill that’s designed to enhance your ability to balance while moving or while stationary. It’s one of the most basic balance exercises. To do the flamingo, stand on one leg for 30 seconds with your arms relaxed by your sides. You’ll most likely use your dominant leg. Lift one of your legs, so you’re balancing yourself on one leg. After 30 seconds, switch to the other leg.Now, jazz it up! While still standing on one leg, start slowly swinging your suspended foot forward, back and out to the side. This is a dynamic action, so you’ll feel all the muscles of your stabilizing leg working hard to keep stationary.
Think that’s easy? Now try the same move with your eyes closed. Your body will begin to sway in every direction! The ultimate goal here is to develop enough balance (and confidence!) to eventually stand still during the move. By simply closing your eyes, your stabilization muscles will work overtime.
No matter what your age, balance improves your posture, your core, and your confidence.