Balance is an important factor in general fitness that allows us to live a normal life. A good balance is needed to do just about everything including walking, standing, climbing stairs, getting out of a chair, and leaning over to tie your shoes.
Performing exercises that strengthen the muscles that improve balance is called balance training. These muscles are mostly found in your legs and core. Balance training improves stability and prevents falls.
Some balance exercises may be intense, such as yoga poses. Others may be as simple as standing on one leg for a few seconds every day. In this article, we shall look at some amazing exercises that you can do to improve your balance.
Exercises to improve your balance
Balance training helps create muscular balance in the body, improves neuro-muscular co-ordination and teaches your body to use the core for stabilization. Here are 5 exercises that will help you in your balance training routine.
1) Tree Pose
You can do the tree pose on the floor, a folded mat, or BOSU. This balance training exercise strengthens your ankles, improves your balance, and engages your core. Here's how you can perform it:
- Stand with your feet together, keeping your spine tall, and arms outstretched. If you are on a BOSU, you can use either side, ball or flat.
- Slowly lift your left foot from the floor and press it against the side of your right calf and try to stand in this position.
- Lift you arms over your head slowly to make the branches of the tree and hold for 30 seconds. Then switch legs.
2) Lateral Thigh Lift
This exercise may sound easy, it is anything but. This balance exercise will strengthen your outer thighs, which will help in lateral movement, such as catching yourself if you trip or fall sideways. Once you are used to the exercise and feel stable enough while doing this move, you can progress to doing it on a step. Here is how to do it:
- Stand tall with your spine straight and your hands on your hips.
- Slowly raise your left leg from the ground sideways, without bending your knee.
- Aim to raise your leg to about 45 degrees, then return to the initial position. Repeat.
3) Dead Bug
One of the best core exercises around, this will help improve core stability by working the transverse abdominus (your deep core muscles). Beginners can perform the exercise on the floor and move on to performing it on a BOSU as they get more accustomed to it.
- Lie down on the floor and raise both arms vertically towards the ceiling.
- Raise your legs such that your knees are directly above your hips and your shin is parallel to the floor.
- Now lower your left arm and right leg towards the floor, but dont touch the floor. Raise them back and repeat the same with the opposite pair of limbs.
4) Squats on BOSU
Performing a basic squat on a BOSU will train your body to engage all the right muscles at the right time. It will improve balance and stability as well as leg and core strength. BOSU squats strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Here is how you can do a BOSU squat:
- Stand on the ball side of the BOSU keeping your feet hip-width apart.
- Perform the squat position with your weight sinking into your heels.
- Try to engage your glutes and hamstrings as you press back up to standing position. Do 8 to 10 reps.
5) Warrior III
This is an excellent exercise to increase balance and stability. It targets your ankles, calves, glutes, hamstrings and core for better balance. To perform this exercise, you need to do the following:
- Begin in the Warrior I position (lunge with your right foot forward, knee bent 90 degrees with knee over the foot, and keep your rear leg extended. Place your hands on your hips.)
- Lean forward and bring your weight into your right (forward) foot. Your left (rear) knee will remain bent as you float your left foot up away from the floor for about a foot.
- Straighten your right leg and bring your torso to a position parallel to the floor. Use your torso going forward to counterbalance your left leg lifting and extend straight back. Both, your torso and the left leg will come parallel to the floor at roughly the same time. Keep your neck relaxed, and your gaze directed towards the floor.
- The left (upper) leg will be fully extended. Both hips should be level and pointing towards the floor.
- Bring your arms above your head, parallel to the floor.
- Bend your right leg and step back to Warrior I.
- Repeat the pose with the opposite leg.
Poll : Which is your favorite balance exercise?