Whether you play sports or walk down stairs, balance is key
to proper movement. Proper balance exercises help to train
the body to react in unstable environments by contracting
the right muscles at the right time. It helps to prevent
joint dysfunction by improving joint stability, and prevent
possible injury. You can benefit from balance training
whether you are young or old.
The ability to balance is not a static process but a dynamic
one. It requires proper posture and joint stability while
you move. Balance exercises are performed in unstable
environments that are safely controlled. You can perform
them by using stability tools such as a BOSU ball, dyna
disc, or a half foam roll. Or simply perform exercises by
balancing on one leg.
Balance exercises are most beneficial when you use proper
technique and start slowly and progress gradually. Avoid
possible injury by watching for some of these common
mistakes: Don't flatten your feet, Don't cave your knees,
and keep your hips level throughout the exercise. Roll your
shoulders back and down, draw your belly button in and
squeeze your buttocks.
Athletes and non-athletes alike should start with simple
balance exercises and gradually progress only when you've
mastered the simple balance exercises. There should be no
movement in your knees, ankles, or hips when you perform
these exercises. The following balance exercises start
from easy to more challenging.
Single Leg Balance: Stand with your feet about shoulder
width apart and place your hands on your hips. Draw your
belly button in. Lift one leg off the ground and right beside
the balanced leg and squeeze the buttocks of the balanced
leg. Keep your hips level and hold for 5 to 20 seconds.
Repeat with other leg. If this is difficult, support
yourself by gently holding on to a chair or wall.
Single Leg Balance Reach: Stand with your feet about
shoulder width apart, place hands on hips. Draw your belly
button in. Lift one leg off the ground and right beside the
balanced leg, squeeze your buttocks of the balanced leg and
maintain this throughout the exercise. keep your hips level
and reach your leg to the front and hold for 2 seconds.
Return leg back to start and reach to the side and hold for
2 seconds. Return leg back to start and reach leg behind
your body and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat with other leg. If
reaching to the front is difficult, master that before
moving to the side or back.
Single Leg Hip Rotation: Stand with your feet about
shoulder width apart and place hands on hips. Draw your
belly button in. Lift one leg off the ground and right
beside the balanced leg. Squeeze your buttocks of the
balanced leg and maintain this throughout the exercise. keep
hips level and rotate at the hips to the side opposite of
the balanced leg and hold for 2 seconds. Return back to
start and repeat with other leg.
Once you master the above exercises you can perform them by
including balance props such as a dyna disc, BOSU ball, or
half foam roll. Properly challenge yourself by progressing
the balance exercises gradually. Make sure that you can
safely control yourself before making the exercises more
challenging. Proper progression will make for an effective
training program and prevent injury.