Improve Your Balance: How (and Why) to Try Balance Training
Spend a few minutes each day improving your balance and you may reduce muscle imbalances (favoring one side, or having one limb that’s stronger than the one on the other side), and reduce your chance of injury.
Here’s what you need to know about increasing your balance and stability.
What it is: Balance training is any activity that improves balance, including flexibility, aerobic, and strength activities.
What it does: Decreases your risk of falling, which is a major cause of broken hips and other injuries that lead to loss of independence as you age. One key side benefit of doing balance work is improved posture, as you’ll be stabilizing the muscles that support your spine.
How and when: If you are at risk of falling, try to do balance activities as recommended by your health care provider. Research has shown that increasing muscle strengthening and balance activity alone can reduce falls and fall injuries by as much as 35%-45%.
Real-life example: standing on one foot. With a chair close by to grab if you lose your balance, stand on one foot for up to 2 minutes, then switch to the other foot. To progress to something a little harder, try doing this with one eye closed. This type of exercise strengthens major leg muscles, as well as the stabilizing muscles in the foot.
- You should work with your health care provider to determine what level of activity is right for you.
- Click on the following links for information on aerobic, strength training, and flexibility activities.