Staying fit means working on issues of strength, endurance, and flexibility, but it also means having good balance. It’s one of the types of fitness often overlooked. While many exercises to build other types of fitness, like strength or flexibility, also build balance. Identifying the importance of balance and focusing on exercises to improve it can be particularly important, especially as you age. Most exercises for other types of training provide some balanced training and are adequate unless there’s a special need.
Having good balance can be particularly important the older you are.
You need good balance to do almost all daily activities, like walking, going up the stairs and even getting up out of a chair. Falls can be debilitating, particularly for seniors and focusing on improving balance can be a huge benefit. People who are grossly obese may lose their balance. It occurs because weight isn’t always evenly distributed. Just imagine suddenly moving and falling. It could be disastrous, not to mention embarrassing, too. How do you know if you need to work on balance? There are balanced exercises you can try.
Stand still to test your balance.
There are many ways to test your balance, from standing on one foot like a stork to walking with one foot in front of the other like a sobriety test. One excellent way to test your balance is simply by standing still. It is harder than it sounds. Stand with feet next to each other, then put one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. Instead of doing the other foot in a walking motion, hold that pose for 30 seconds. If that’s too easy for you, close your eyes as you maintain the position. It’s definitely hard to do.
Some balance exercises are simple.
Stand at attention and lift one leg, bending it at a 90-degree angle at the hip and knee. Hold that position for 30 seconds then alternate legs, lifting the opposite knee. As you improve your balance, close your eyes and do this exercise. If you think you have conquered balance issues, try one more challenge. Do a squat on one leg with the other leg pointed straight out in front. Raise and lower yourself, maintaining balance on that leg, then switch to the other leg and do it again. You’ll probably find it’s easier on one side than it is on the other.
- If you do find you need to work on balance, you should focus on it at least three times per week or more. Some good forms of balance exercises for seniors include Tai Chi and lower body strength training.
- Balance requires good proprioception—your sense of the body’s location, movements, and actions or body awareness. You can develop that by focusing on each muscle when you workout. Closing your eyes and visualizing each muscle movement helps.
- Your core muscles are for maintaining balance. When you increase your balance, you’ll also be strengthening those muscles, which include your glutes and abs. As an extra benefit, you’ll get a more chiseled appearance.
- Besides seniors and those with poor coordination, people with back problems or arthritis can benefit from balance training. More recently, balance training has become an important part of treatment for those with MS.
For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio