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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How To Improve Balance With At-Home Exercises

Muscle and bone strength aren’t the only requirements for body movement. You also need balance and coordination to help you maneuver and change directions with ease. Balance problems, however, affect more people than you might think. In fact, approximately 69 million adult Americans manifest signs and symptoms of balance problems including 1 out of 20 children.

Some balance issues may not be serious but severe cases can warrant treatment especially if the problem involves the musculoskeletal organs, the brain, or the heart. Balance problems also increase your risk of suffering from fall-related injuries and associated complications.

For these reasons, it is critical that you see your doctor as soon as you experience any form of balance difficulty. You may need to undergo various tests to determine if it is caused by an ear infection, a lower extremity injury, or if it’s a sign of something that requires immediate medical care. You might need to use a walking cane for added support and balance when carrying out everyday tasks and to ensure your safety.

To supplement your treatment and improve your balance, try the following exercises. Before you proceed, however, talk to your doctor about your physical limits and which exercises you are allowed to perform.

Exercises To Improve Balance

1. Stand on one leg and hold it for 30 seconds. Do the same on the other leg. If you can do it with ease, try standing on an uneven surface with your eyes closed.

2. Stand on a balance disk and steady your feet a shoulder-width apart. For two minutes, rock forward, backward, and then from side to side.

3. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Slowly shift your weight to the right side by lifting your left foot off the floor. Hold it for 30 seconds then go back to your starting position. Do it on the opposite side and repeat as many times as you can.

4. Walk heel to toe 20 steps forward and another 20 steps backward. It should be in a straight line (left heel directly in front of your right toe and vice versa) and you should be looking straight ahead.

5. Keeping your feet one foot apart, put your hands on either side of your hips. Lift your right leg off the floor while bending your knee. Hold it for 30 seconds before slowly lowering your leg. Do it on the opposite side and repeat for 10 times.

6. With your back straight, stand on your right leg and lift your left leg six inches off the floor. Swing it forward and backward then with your right arm out, swing the left leg to the left side. Do this on the opposite leg and repeat for 3 times.

7. Stand on one leg with your back straight and your hands on either side of your hips. Point one arm overhead first, then to your side, going lower, to the opposite side, and back up again, like you are tracing an imaginary circle. Repeat using the other arm and leg.

8. Lift your heels off the ground while keeping your feet together. Tiptoe and reach your arms out to your sides. Move your arms an inch forward then an inch backward. Repeat for 25 times. Stretch your arms overhead and move forward then backward. Repeat for another 25 times.

Exercises To Strengthen Core And Lower-Body Muscles
  • Plant your feet one foot apart, keep your arms out, and your back straight. Slowly lower yourself to the ground by bending your hips and knees. When your thighs are already parallel to the floor, slowly go back up. Keep your core tight all throughout the routine. Repeat 10 times for each set and try to go for at least 3 sets. 
  • Balance on your right foot then bend your waist forward, engaging your core. Reach your left hand toward the ground and slowly lift your left leg until it reaches the level of your buttocks. Then lower it back and return to your starting position.
  • Place your elbows on a balance disk and assume a planking position. Engage your core and maintain proper alignment of your shoulders and hips. Do this for as long as there’s no discomfort.

Hydrate with water before, during, and after your workout. For additional safety, have a workout buddy, a friend, or a relative assist you when doing these exercises until you can already do it on your own. If you feel any form of discomfort or difficulty while performing them, stop the activity immediately and have a rest. Remember to increase your exercise intensity gradually to prevent injuries.

This is a guest blog entry.

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