March 15, 2013

ten ways: physical balance

As promised...here is a list of 10 ways to improve your physical balance. I've already started putting a few of these (1, 3, 5, & 10) into practice and now that I have studied up, 2, 4 and definitely number 6 are headed my way. I'm shooting for a gold medal in the "sidewalk crack" balance beam.

    to improve physical balance.

  1. Move. Becoming sedentary is a major contributor to losing your ability to balance. Any action which keeps your legs and feet moving (simply walking!) will help to maintain your balance. 
  2. Stand on one foot. Work this into your daily routine...while brushing your teeth, while standing in line for coffee, while doing the dishes, or while waiting for the bus. If you find yourself "waiting" for anything, use that moment to work on your balance. 
  3. Sit down and stand up without using your hands. Better yet, do 25-50 squats a day. The concept of a squat is to pretend you are about to sit in a chair, but don't. For good squat posture, push your booty back, keep your chest and head up, and (this is very important!) make sure your knees do not push forward in front of your ankles. Keep your feet about hip distance apart, put your hands on your hips or in front of you, and push through your heals. 
  4. Strengthen your core. This does not mean you have to do sit-ups. There are lots of ways to work your abs without doing a single sit-up. Try the plank! A stronger core means better posture and better balance. 
  5. Take a tai chi, yoga, bar method, or pilates class regularly. The benefits of slow and deliberate movement, core strengthening, holding positions, and the act of grounding your body will do wonders for balance. Not to mention the many other profound benefits of these practices. 
  6. Walk heal to toe along a curb or even a flat crack in the pavement. Remember doing this as a kid and pretending you were a circus tightrope walker or an Olympic gymnast?!?! Why not have a little fun while gaining more balance? 
  7. Try out a balance board or an exercise/stability ball. The simple act of sitting on an exercise ball while watching TV, reading or working at your desk will naturally improve your balance while you adjust your posture. The balance board is more involved, but one of the fastest ways to improve balance. 
  8. Walk with a book on your head. You will learn to "glide" smoothly while walking, improve posture, and practice balancing. (I'm getting major movie flashbacks with this one.)
  9. Focus. Find a particular point across the room to look at and relax. Eyesight works with your inner ear to help adjust your balance while in motion (turning in particular). Remember how much harder it was to balance with your eyes closed? Exercising your eyes throughout the day by looking up from your computer or book periodically to focus will help to maintain this valuable reflex. 
  10. Get dressed one leg at a time. When putting on your socks and shoes in the morning, try standing on the opposite leg instead of sitting down. You may need to squat a little (free booty workout!) or stand close to something (a chair or wall) to quickly steady yourself should you start to wobble. 
Now, go have a very productive Friday and a rejuvenating weekend. My wish for you is for the next few days to bring you plenty of balance.  See you next week!

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