Balance, a Use It or Lose It Proposition

Balance, a Use It or Lose It Proposition

The first thing I want you to do is to stop reading, get up and stand on one foot for 60 seconds.

Go ahead.  Try it.  Get up and stand on one foot without holding onto anything.

If you were successful, congrats you are on your way to having a great sense of balance.  

If not, that’s okay.  Because although balance is one of the things we lose as we age, we can also improve it immensely with practice.

Balance is truly a “use it or lose it” proposition.

We’ve all had the experience.  You’re just minding your own business and suddenly there’s a curb or a piece of ice or an unexpected pet under foot and you find yourself on the ground or flailing around wondering what the heck happened.

Or maybe it’s not so dramatic.

You go to put your socks on and can’t seem to stay upright without leaning against the dresser.

A complicated skill, balance is something everyone starts to lose with age.  And what an important skill it is.  After all, no one wants to fall! Vision, strength, agility and the ability of your body to sense where it is in space all contribute.  Even your inner ear structures can change with age and affect balance.

Some activities that will improve your balance include hiking, skiing, playing tennis, even walking on trails with uneven surfaces.  You can even practice by brushing your teeth standing on one leg.

Luckily balance is pretty easily improved with exercises specifically designed for the purpose.

My challenge to you is to improve your balance with the exercises below.

 Start with the exercise you can perform with success 3 out of 5 times, and when you master the exercise move to the next one.

Ultimately we want to be able to improve our balance so we can maintain it while moving.

Single Leg Balance

Stand on one foot with the other just off the ground.  Hold for 60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

SingleLegBalance

Single leg Balance with Head Movement

Stand on one foot with the other foot just off the ground.  Turn your head to look to the right and left, then up to the sky and down to the floor.  Repeat 3-5 times.  Try to do all repetitions without touching the foot down to the ground.
SingleLegHeadLeft    SingleLegBalance   SingleLegHeadRight

 Single Leg Balance and Reach

Stand on one foot with the other just off the floor.  Bend forward at the hip while bending the ankle and knee of your standing leg.  Reach forward with your arms as if to pick something off the floor.

Repeat 3-5 times.  Try to do all repetitions without touching the other foot down to the ground.

BalReachStand    BalReachMidd    BalReachLow

 

Keep up with your exercises 3x/week.  Unfortunately if you stop, your balance will start to deteriorate again.  So make balance work a part of your daily life – make it fun and it won’t feel like a chore!

 And let me know how it goes in the comments below.

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4 Responses to Balance, a Use It or Lose It Proposition

  1. Nettie says:

    Thanks for sending these small but HUGELY significant moves to help further all of our health! Next stop? Trying to move my head, balancing on one leg…….ohh, I’ll get there eventually.
    Thanks Betsy!!

    • Betsy Ogden says:

      Glad this could be helpful Nettie! Hope to see you this winter in the Pilates Gone Gray! 6-Week Fitness Challenge. I’ll be sending information out next week!

  2. Barb says:

    I have tried this watching the news on TV instead of sitting on my butt!! I’m getting pretty good at it! THANKS

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