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3 ways to improve your balance

By Lee Ajzenman, Physiotherapist and Lauren Charlton, Physiotherapist

Balance is one of those things that often gets neglected when we work out. We tend to prioritise our strength or aerobic fitness over being able to stand on one leg.

Why bother with balance?

Whether it is to feel prepared for a slippery footpath, reduce the risk of falls or to improve your recreational or competitive sporting performance, good balance is critical. 

Consider these three ways to challenge your balance. Your body will reward you with improved posture, confidence, strength, endurance, muscle tone and more…

Remember safety first with any balance exercises and if you are in doubt, are stuck for ideas or unsure how to improve your balance safely, seek guidance from a physiotherapist or personal trainer

Three ways to improve your balance

1. Change or reduce your ‘base of support’

If you alter the surface you are standing or kneeling on, you will challenge your ‘base of support’.
Try these:

  • Balance on one leg.
  • Balance with your feet one in front of the other, like you are standing on a tight rope.
  • Stand on something unstable—equipment such as cushions, foam mats, wobble boards or even just taking your shoes off, will create stability challenges.

2. Remove or change your visual input

Closing your eyes, or changing your vision (moving your gaze by turning your head or moving your eyes) will challenge your vestibular system (inner ear), which plays an enormous role in maintaining balance.

Try these alone or even add them to the suggestions above to change or reduce your visual input:

  • close your eyes
  • turn your head from side to side, or nod up and down
  • move your eyes from side to side or up and down.

3. Dynamic balance exercises

Staying still and holding your balance is static balance, while maintaining your balance as you move is called dynamic balance. Both are important to train and maintain!

Try these alone or add to any of the suggestions above:

  • move your arms, legs or torso
  • have light or heavy weights in your hands or as ankle weights while moving during balance exercises
  • combine more complicated movements like walking along an imaginary tightrope.

Last updated: October 21, 2020 at: 2:51 pm