by Mike Locke – Fitness Director
Unless you have incurred some type of injury or illness, training for balance may not even be on your exercise radar. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to balance is that every step we take, every stair we climb there is a moment prior to stepping down that we have to balance on one foot. If you watch older adults that have balance and strength issues you quite often see a short abbreviated shuffle type of gait as they walk. If they were to try and take a longer stride they would lose their balance and fall.
Single-leg balance exercises can assist exercisers from athletes to older adults and require minimal to no equipment at all. The most basic of exercises is to try and stand on one foot and maintain your balance for a period of time, anywhere from 10-60 seconds. From there you can give yourself increased balance challenges. The following is a list of single-leg balance exercises in progressive order:
1. Change where you look with your eyes only (up, down, left, right, and diagonally).
2. Change your opposite foot position (hold out in front , out to the side, out to the rear).
3. Change your head position (turn your head left, right, up, down, and diagonally).
4. Change the position of your arms (out to the side, out to the front, above your head).
5. C lose your eyes and try to maintain balance.
6. Apply external loading (medicine ball, clubbell, pulley, tubing).
You should only move to more challenging balance exercises after you have mastered the initial exercise progressions. Give them a try and assess your balance. You will be pleasantly surprised or more educated on where you currently are in your ability to balance. If you have questions regarding Balance type exercise please contact one of our personal training staff.