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Fitness Friday: Balance

Why is balance so important?

Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving or remaining still.

Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities like:

  • walk without staggering
  • get up from a chair without falling
  • climb stairs without tripping
  • bend over without falling

Balance is an important skill for everyone, especially as we age.  Injuries from falls and accidents are a significant risk for older adults.  Maintaining stability throughout the course of our everyday activities is a key factor in maintaining health and wellness.

3 simple exercises to improve balance:

1-Weight Shift:

photo 1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs (A).

Shift your weight to your right side, then lift your left foot off the floor (B).

Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 30 seconds.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions

2-Single-leg balance

photo 2

Standing on one leg

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs. Place your hands on your hips. Lift your left leg off the floor and bend it back at the knee (A).

Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 30 seconds.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions.

For variety, reach out with your foot as far as possible without touching the floor (B).

For added challenge, balance on one leg while standing on a pillow or other unstable surface (C).

3-Biceps curls for balance

photo 3

You can do many balance exercises with weights. Try biceps curls with a dumbbell:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs. Hold the dumbbell in your left hand with your palm facing upward (A). Lift your right leg off the floor and bend it back at the knee (B).

Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 30 seconds.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions.

For added challenge, balance on the leg opposite the weight (C) or while standing on a pillow or other unstable surface (D).

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