No words can explain the importance of balance and stability, especially as you get older. It impacts every movement you make in your life—from walking across your home to climbing a flight of stairs and even bending down to pick something.
Beyond fitness, good balance and stability help make daily activities easier by boosting overall movement function, reducing the risks of falls, and improving cognitive function.
According to studies, one out of four older adults experiences balance problems, which often arise from a lack of strength. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve impaired balance.
Here are some methods worth considering and how they can help improve balance and stability.
- Exercise Balls
As a first step, consider using a stability ball, aka a Swiss ball. Stability balls help improve stability and balance by strengthening your core muscles. Additionally, it is much easier to store at your home than other workout equipment. You can also use exercise balls to do stretching exercises like chest presses, hamstring curls, sit-ups, etc.
If you wish to take your balance and stability-improving game to the next level, replace your desk chair with a stability ball. It will challenge your balance and coordination and help you achieve results faster.
- Balance Boards
In the past, balance boards were quite popular among specific groups of fitness enthusiasts, such as surfers. However, this fitness equipment became mainstream recently.
Balance boards offer a fun way to train your muscles and improve your stability. While it can be challenging at first, using it becomes easier once you get the hang of it. Start with simpler and lighter exercises on the standing board, and then move on to complex ones once you feel confident. Alternatively, use it in your living room or at your standing desk.
- Practice Yoga
The benefits of doing yoga are numerous from better balance to increased flexibility. An ancient practice that has its roots in India, Yoga strengthens muscles, thereby helping improve your balance.
There are many yoga styles you can choose from depending on what fitness or health goals you wish to achieve. For instance, Hatha yoga is excellent for postural stability. You might also want to try standing yoga poses, such as Mountain or Half Moon, as it helps you build a solid foundation.
To reap extra benefits, try doing yoga outdoors early in the morning. This will help you start your day on a positive note. Nevertheless, ensure you wear sunglasses to prevent eye damage due to strong sun rays. Consider browsing eyeglasses frames and choosing one you like.
Furthermore, if you wish to learn the moves properly, joining a yoga class taught by a certified instructor is a great idea.
- Shift Your Focus
A vital element to maintaining balance and stability is your focus. According to several researches, focusing on a point outside your body can help improve balance, not just when standing but also when you are walking, in a vehicle, or while exercising.
To practice shifting your focus, consider staring at a fixed point in front of you when standing or working out. Furthermore, consider including standing on one foot in your daily exercise regimen. And when doing so, soften your knees, pull your belly in, lift your chin slightly, and focus on an external point.
By shifting your focus to an external point, your body starts working on autopilot to complete the journey without your brain interfering with your actions.
- Balance Boosting Workout Routine
Beyond the methods listed above, your best bet is to follow a workout regime rich in balance and stability-improving exercises. Ideally, perform exercises like back leg raises, knee curls, toe stands, squats, side steps, and back extensions. These moves focus on strengthening various body parts, like your back, pelvic, calf, ankle, etc.
As mentioned earlier, strength is what contributes to balance. Thus, by practicing these exercises daily, you can slowly build stability and balance. Nevertheless, if you struggle to perform any exercises, take it slow by using some kind of support like a chair or table.
Good balance is essential for a hassle-free lifestyle. However, instead of overwhelming yourselves with all the balance exercises, take one step at a time. In case you feel uncertain about how to safely practice any exercises, you must speak to a professional.
Similarly, speak to your healthcare provider at the earliest if you have persistent balance issues or feel unsteady, lightheaded, shaky, confused, or blurred vision.