We try to spend a little time during each fitness bootcamp to work on improving balance. Balance, or your ability to maintain equilibrium in a posture, is the end result of the ongoing proprioceptive cycle of feedback and adjustment – in essence, your sense of where your body is in space and your body’s ability to correct for internal and external changes.
Balance is important primarily because loss of balance can cause falls and injuries. Practices that strengthen the muscles of the foot, leg and hip, as well as provide increased body awareness can help you to avoid unnecessary spills. Here’s 3 quick exercises that you can do – without equipment – in your own home. Try them out. We find that participants in our fitness bootcamps are often surprised by their lack of balance or by the difference in the ability to balance on one leg versus the other. We recommend doing these exercises barefoot.
Single Leg Balance
Bend your knee to lift your opposite foot off the floor. Standing on one foot – hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch legs. Keep track of the amount of time you’re able to stand on each foot without touching the ground and see if you can beat your time. Let your legs be independent of each other – don’t attempt to assist your balancing leg by hooking the opposite foot around you ankle. Once you’ve mastered the Single Leg Balance, move on to Single Leg Balance with Eyes Closed.
Single Leg Balance with Eyes Closed
Bend your knee to lift one foot off the floor. Close your eyes. Standing on one foot – hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch legs. Have a friend keep track of the amount of time you’re able to stand on each foot without touching the ground and see if you can beat your time. Again, let your legs be independent of each other – don’t attempt to assist your balancing leg by hooking the opposite foot around you ankle. Once you’ve mastered the Single Leg Balance with Eyes Closed, move on to Single Leg Balance with Touch.
Single Leg Balance Touch – Straight Leg
Standing on one foot - simultaneously bring your chest forward and your opposite leg straight to the back. You should be pushing your back foot out behind you and thereby engaging your glutes. Take the hand opposite your grounded foot and reach toward your toe. The leg of the grounded foot should be straight, yet not locked out at the knee. You may feel a slight stretch through the hamstring as you reach toward your toe. Return to the start position and repeat all reps on the same leg (10 to 15) before switching legs.
Put in just a small amount of time and get out a great amount of return…
These exercises take very little time – you can even practice standing on one foot while you watch television, make phone calls or brush your teeth. We’ll be providing you with more variations to spice things up once you’ve mastered these 3 quick balance exercises!
If you have any questions or would like to share an exercise or experience, leave a comment!