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Do You Practice Balance Exercises?

Do you have good balance?  There are four types of exercise, including: strength, flexibility, endurance and balance.  Incorporating each of these movement types into your exercise routine helps to keep your body fit and healthy.  Good balance is important for everyday activities.  By practicing balance exercises daily, or at minimum three times a week, you can enjoy everyday activities with more ease and help your body maintain equilibrium and prevent falls (which is a high risk for older adults). 

Benefits of Balance Exercises

Maintain and Improve Posture

Balance exercises require you to engage your core, which strengthens your abdominal muscles and back muscles, improving overall stability and posture.  Balance exercises reduce one’s risk of developing back pain or other musculoskeletal imbalances.  When you have a stronger core, your movements are more ergonomic and less stress is placed on your body.   

Injury Prevention

If you have ever sustained an injury and taken part in a rehabilitation program, it’s likely a huge focus has been on balance exercises.  Balance exercises help to promote healing, restore joint stability, and even reduce one’s risk of future injuries by increasing one’s overall body control and stability.  

Boost Brain Health

Did you know that balance exercises have been shown to have positive effects on brain health?  This is because balance exercises require focus, concentration and coordination, which fire neural pathways involved in balance control.  By practicing balance exercises regularly you can help improve cognitive abilities, memory, and spatial awareness.  Additionally, studies show that practicing balance exercises regularly can help to prevent cognitive decline and neurological imbalances.  

Enhance Your Performance

Balance is key for athletes.  By regularly practicing balance exercises, you prime your body to be able to respond quickly and precisely.  Balance exercises help one to maintain proper form, prevent injury and enhance performance through improving stability, agility and precision. 

Simple Balance Exercises

Balance exercises are easy to do!  You can perform them anytime and anywhere.  If you don’t regularly practice balance exercises, you may find yourself surprised that you have weaker balance than you thought.  Hopefully this will be motivation for you to practice balancing more often!

*How long can you stand on one foot?  Switch sides and take notice of any difference in balance between sides.  Challenge yourself to balance for at least 10 seconds on each side.  As you practice, increase the amount of time.  Note: If this activity feels too challenging, or you fear you might fall, stay close to a wall and start by supporting yourself with one hand as you balance.  As you feel more secure, try only one finger to the wall and then no wall. 

*Practice walking heel to toe for 20 steps, and increase as you gain more practice.  Once again, use a wall if you feel you need additional support. 

*Tai Chi and Yoga are both great examples of balance exercises, which also incorporate strength and flexibility exercises. 

Start practicing balance exercises today and experience the positive effects in your own body and mind! As always, be sure to speak with your trusted healthcare provider if you have questions regarding your balance or what exercises would be safe for your body.  

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