12 Exercises That Can Help Improve Your Balance

by David Johnson
woman yoga med ball

Exercise is key to a long and healthy life. It can tone your muscles, boost your vital organ functions, and reduce your risk of diseases, and can also enhance your physical performance, increasing not only your strength, flexibility, endurance, and stamina, but your balance too.

Why should you do balance exercises?

Balance exercises target several different muscle groups in the body. They primarily work your core, lower back, legs, and other parts of your lower body for better stability and mobility. In the beginning, they can be quite difficult, but regularity and consistency should make the training easier over time.

People who want to improve their balance are encouraged to do balance exercises. If you are a senior, these exercises are especially important so that you can lower your risk of falls, injuries, and others. As you age, various aspects of your physical fitness and abilities naturally decline, so keeping your body as strong and durable as possible through balance exercises is essential.

What are some good examples of balance exercises?

There are plenty of balance exercises that you can do at home, at the park, or wherever you are comfortable at, whatever time of the day you prefer. The following are examples of balance exercises that you can do at least twice a week to get you started:

  1. Sideways walking

Start by standing straight with your feet together and your knees bent a little bit. Then, step sideways to the right using your right foot first, followed by your left foot. Repeat 10 times, before shifting to the other direction. Make sure that you remain faced forward and avoid bending your hips every time you take a step.

  1. Heel-to-toe walk

man yoga pose knee bendStart by standing straight with your right heel placed directly in front of your left toe. Move your left foot forward, placing your left heel right in front of your right toe. Repeat 10 times. If you are having trouble balancing, do the exercise next to a wall so that you can easily put your hand up against it anytime for stability.

  1. Leg swings

Start by standing straight only on your right leg and with your left leg raised about three to five inches off the floor. Keep both of your arms at your sides. Then, in a slow and controlled manner, swing your left leg forward and then backward. Engage your core to keep you stable. If necessary, you can do the exercise next to a chair or a wall to help you balance. Repeat 5 times, and then switch legs.

  1. Tightrope walk

Start by placing a strip of tape about two feet long on the floor. Pretend that the tape is a tightrope, and walk on it slowly and carefully without stepping off to the side. Once you reach one end of the tape, turn around and walk back to where you started. Repeat. Make sure to hold your arms out to your sides to keep your balance.

  1. One-leg stand

Start by standing straight facing a wall with your arms stretched out in front of you and your fingertips touching the wall for a bit of support. Then, lift your right leg to about hip level, and hold that position for about 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times, then switch legs.

  1. Plank with arm raise

Start by getting into a high plank position, i.e. with both of your arms fully extended and your hands about shoulder-width apart and under your shoulders. Engage your core, and then raise your right arm straight out in front of you. Hold for about 10 seconds. Put your right arm back to the starting position. Repeat but raise your left arm next. Alternate arms for 10-15 rounds. Make sure to keep your hips stable all throughout.

  1. Sumo squat

Start by standing straight with your feet just a bit wider apart than shoulder-width. Slowly bend your knees and lower your hips to get into a sumo squat position, keeping your torso straight and upright as you do so. Then, as you stand back up, raise your right leg out to the side and your left arm out to the side, like a sumo wrestler. Go back to starting position. Repeat 12 times, alternating sides.

  1. Grapevine

Start by standing straight with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Cross your right foot over your left foot. Hold that position for about 2 to 3 seconds. Then, cross your left foot over your right foot. Hold again. Repeat 10 times. If you are having trouble with your balance, do the exercise next to a wall for support.

  1. woman balance yoga poseStanding tree

Start by standing straight with your feet together and your arms stretched over your head. Slowly lift your right foot up and place it on the side of your left calf. Stay in that position for 30 seconds, and then switch legs. Repeat 10 times.

  1. Toe lifts

Start by standing straight with your feet together. Extend your arms out right in front of you, and then, using your toes, raise yourself as high as you can. Hold for about 5 seconds. Repeat for 20 to 25 times. If you cannot keep yourself steady, you can do the exercise not too far from a wall for support.

  1. Back leg raise

Start by standing straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart behind a chair. Place your hands on the back of chair for support. Then, slowly raise your right leg backward as high as you can. As you do this, try to keep your knees straight. Hold that position for about 5 to 10 seconds. Go back to the starting position, and switch legs.

  1. Wall push-ups

Start by standing about an arm’s length away in front of a wall. Slowly and carefully lean forward, placing your palms on the wall. Make sure to keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Then, push your body backward, fully extending your arms. Repeat 12-15 times.

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