Womens Health

Improve Your Balance in Days

When the average person begins a new fitness routine, the focus is on increasing cardiovascular strength and ultimately losing weight. Many people remember to factor in nutrition and even basic warm-up and cool-down stretches to help prevent injury and increase flexibility. But they forget all about balance.

Why It's Important

Balance is crucial to your ability to do everyday tasks you may take for granted. Something as simple as reaching into a cupboard, putting on your shoes, getting in and out of a vehicle or climbing stairs all require balancing. Each action requires that your body weight is balanced on one or both legs.

If you lose this ability to balance, you could end of injuring yourself. It doesn't matter what your age is, if you're unable to effectively balance, the loss of body stability could mean broken bones and head injuries. Poor balance can also affect back pain.

Practicing and perfecting your ability to physically balance ultimately helps your joint health. It'll reduce your chance of injury and help you safely continue on with daily activities well into your senior years.

Completing balancing exercises will help your body interpret your position in space and use the information to move. This is called proprioception. It's a big word that describes a complex system where your body interprets what you see and your environment in relation to the gravity of your inner ear to tell your muscles to contract or relax to maintain a desired motion or position.

When all the information around you is too complicated for your body to translate, your system becomes overwhelmed and you lose your balance. The good news is that practice can help you master balance.

As you master balance, you'll notice improvements in posture, athletic skill and coordination. And you'll notice these improvements surprisingly soon after you start balance training. It's important to continue balance training even after you notice improvements to maintain the inner stability that can help prevent injuries.

How Bad (or Good) is My Balance?

Just for fun, try a quick balance test.

Make sure you have a clear area in front of you. A hallway is a good option if you're in your home. You can even go in the basement. Position both feet evenly flat on the floor. Close your eyes and walk on an imaginary tight rope by placing one foot in front of the other so that the heel touches the toes of your back foot.

How long can you maintain your balance? If you find you're wobbling right away, then your balance is poor. But don't worry. You can fix this. If you can walk like this for 30 seconds or more, then you're balance is reasonably good. Keep up training to maintain this good balance.

The Length of Balance Training

All it takes to improve your balance is to add five minutes of balance exercises three times a week. You'll likely notice improvement within a week. You'll find that you're able to maintain your balance for longer periods of time and can up the exercises to 10-minute segments.

Easy At-home Exercises

You don't need any special equipment to complete balance training. You can even squeeze it in your daily activities.

The narrower your base of support, the more work will be required to maintain your balance. Instead of standing by the stove with your legs spread wide apart, try stirring your food with legs closely together and your stomach muscles tightened.

Try balancing on one leg for any activity. Making a phone call? Stand on one leg for the conversation. Try not to grunt into the phone! Shifting exercises to one leg during your workout will also challenge your balancing. Lift one heel off the floor when doing bicep curls, for example. Work your way up to completely lifting your leg off the floor.


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