Balance and stability are two of the most important pieces to aging well. We?ve all heard about an elderly person taking a fall and breaking a hip or wrist. As we age, why is this so important? What can we do to keep it intact?
Both can be trained much in the same way as a muscle. There are specific exercises that can be done to increase ones sense of coordination and tools to make it happen.
Balance is a visual state. Try standing on one foot. Now do that with your eyes closed. Harder, right? It?s much more challenging to take your vision out of the equation. Balance is also a learned condition, so there is potential to train it with exercise.
Here are some basic exercises for training your balance:Stand with your feet hips width apart. Find something to focus on as you raise one foot off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly return the foot to the floor. Repeat to the other side. Now repeat the whole exercise with your eyes closed.Place a towel on the floor in front of you. Stand on one leg as you bend down to pick it up. Stand all the way up, then bend over to replace the towel on the floor, and stand up, then bend over to pick up the towel, etc. Keep your foot up and repeat 3 times on each leg.
These exercises require little equipment, but there are some terrific tools you can purchase for balance and stability workouts.
Any exercise tool that is an unstable surface, like a foam roller,BOSU,balance board,or stability ball can be used to build your strength and stability. They work because they require you to make an unstable situation a stable one. This involves the use of many muscle groups at once.
Let?s talk about the BOSU, an acronym for ?both sides up?. The BOSU looks like a stability ball cut in half and placed on a plastic platform. Exercises are done with the dome side up or down creating many opportunities for core strength training.
When standing on the dome side of the BOSU, you feel as if you are standing on a boat. It?s a bit rocky. Not only are you training balance, but the lower leg muscles and ankles get a workout as does the abdominals, back muscles and glutes. All these muscles are involved in coordination.
For agility and a spring in your step, balance and stability are the most fitting of partners. Kind of like Astaire and Rogers.
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