As you grow older, your reflexes slow down making it harder for you to regain balance once you trip or fall. In fact, you don’t even have to grow old to notice the times you easily lose balance.
While you cannot avoid falling or tripping, what you can do is strengthen your ability to regain balance after. This means that if you tripped, you are able to catch yourself before you fall flat on the floor. In the same way, if you fall on the floor, you have enough strength to push your body up without a scratch.
9 Exercises That Increase Strength and Balance
Exercise can help you get that strength and balance you need to get back up. It also makes your muscles more flexible, and your bones, stronger. Here are 9 exercises that can help you achieve all that.
1. Breathing Exercises
Before starting any exercise, make sure that you prepare yourself properly for what’s to come. Breathing exercises help you focus and get into the zone before you start working out. You can start by breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Make sure that as you inhale, your chest expands and it deflates when you exhale.
Stretches are a great way to warm-up for your other exercises. It helps wake up sleeping muscles while it slowly increases your heart rate.
Two of the best stretches to do to improve balance are shoulder rolls and calf stretches. Shoulder rolls help you check your posture. It checks whether you’ve been slouching or not. For calf stretches, it requires you to stand on one foot as you lift your other leg and move your thigh towards you.
Lunges have a few variations that challenge your balance and strength. However, a simple lunge can already help improve balance so you can start with its most basic form. Start by placing one leg behind you as you bend your knee toward the floor. Your thigh should be perpendicular to the floor. While you push yourself down to do a lunge, try to hold your stance for 5 seconds without losing balance.
4. Heel Raises
This exercise may sound easy, but it can also test how you can balance yourself on your toes. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself leaning forward or having your legs shake because it’s simply not as easy when you do it repetitively.
You can do heel raises by standing with feet a few inches apart. Slowly lift your heel as if you are a ballerina then hold that position for 10-15 minutes.
5. Leg Lifts
To do leg lifts, make sure that you are holding on to a back of a chair, a table, or a wall. While on a standing position, slowly lift one leg to the back. Make sure that you keep your leg straight as you try to make it parallel to the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds and then put your leg down. Do this for your other leg as well.
6. Leg Extensions
To do this exercise, sit on a chair that has a straight-back frame. If you don’t have any, you can just sit with your back straight, just be mindful of your posture while you do the exercise. Slowly raise one leg until it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure that this leg is straight. Slowly lower it back down. Do this for your other leg, too.
7. Toe Touches
Toe touches help improve your balance in much the same way as it improves your flexibility. To do a toe touch, all you need to do is stand straight, lift your arms, and bend forward until your fingers touch your toes. Sounds easy? Think again. If you can’t reach your toes just yet, there’s nothing to worry about as this takes practice.
8. Hip Circles
Hip circles are meant to practice your balance by focusing on your core. It’s simply moving your hips to a circle that is parallel to the floor. Move your hips clockwise for 8 counts before you do this counter-clockwise. Make sure to engage your core as you move.
If you don’t have time to spare in some days, you can still improve your balance and strength by walking. Walking is a great way to test if you can balance yourself. If you want more of a challenge, try walking on uneven surfaces to see if you can really balance.