Balance strengthening by simple, everyday activities – this is what Harvard Medical School points out. Balance is an essential part of maintaining health. It is important to find ways to train your balance in one’s everyday life. Day-to-day situations are an easy way to get the balance exercise that your body needs.
If you love tennis, golf, running, dancing, or any number of other sports or activities, working on balance buffs your abilities. Not an athlete? Just walking across the room or down the block requires good balance. So does rising from a chair, going up and down stairs, toting packages, and even turning to look behind you.
And good balance helps prevent potentially disabling falls.
Using your daily routine to improve your balance
There is a lot you can do to preserve and improve your balance, and it doesn’t take special fitness classes or exercises. Incorporating balance and strength activities into your daily routine could be enough to lower your risk of falling.
Researchers in Australia tested a program called Lifestyle Integrated Functional Exercise (LiFE). A group of 317 people are participants, ages 70 and older, who had fallen in the previous year. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the LiFE program, a structured exercise and strengthening program, or a control “sham” program of gentle exercises.
Those in the LiFE program incorporated balance and strength movements throughout their day. For example, squatting instead of bending over to close a drawer, or walking sideways while carrying groceries from the car to the house.
At the end of one year, the LiFE group had experienced 31% fewer falls than the two other groups. A total of 172 falls, compared with 193 in the structured exercise group and 224 in the control group. People were also more likely to stick with the LiFE program than with the other two programs. To incorporate balance exercises into your daily routine: Try standing on one leg while talking on the phone or sitting down in a chair without using your hands.
For more on ways to improve your balance, a “Special Health Report” is offered (Better Balance from Harvard Medical School).
Four exercises grabbed from daily situations for your balance training
In this section, you’ll be challenging your sense of balance by following routine;
1. Stand up while putting on your pants.
This makes you balance on a single leg while moving other parts of your body. This skill allows you to avoid tripping by more easily changing where you put your foot or recover from that step into the hole hidden in the grass. To increase the difficulty, stand up while putting on your socks or shoes.
2. Stand on one leg while standing at a counter.
This can be while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Make sure to do this on both legs. Standing without touching your foot to the ground for 30 seconds will significantly increase the strength in the stabilizers in your leg as well as improve the neuromuscular function to keep you upright.
You can even make sure to perform good dental hygiene by performing the single leg. Stand two times each foot for 30 seconds and accomplishing the 30 seconds per quadrant of teeth recommended by dentists. If you have difficulty with this, just try using a challenging stance of feet close together or one in front of the other.
3. Stand on a squishy surface while performing household tasks, watching TV, or a home workout.
You can start with a couch cushion and work up to 2 cushions stacked to increase the challenge. You can also increase the challenge by changing your stance as above. This squishy surface can be incorporated into a home yoga routine by placing one or both feet on the cushion during poses, or into a weight training program by standing on the cushions during upper-body tasks like bicep curls and lower body tasks such as squats.
4. Move your head.
Start in a sitting position and move to standing with varied stances as listed above or even while walking in your home. While focusing on a static target (picture on the wall) or dynamic target (TV, window, etc.) move your head up and down or side to side. This will increase your ability to maintain balance while scanning your environment by training your vestibular system.
No matter whether these or other suitable exercises – main thing is: You have to get used identifying the big potential daily situations offer to improve your balance – body first, and brain will follow!