You know getting your heart pumping with some aerobic exercise a few times a week is important for your health. And we don’t need to tell you strength exercises are critical for building strong muscles and bones.
But there’s one more form of fitness that most of us forget about. And that’s a shame because it’s so powerful that it can help you live an active, vibrant and independent life well into your 80s, 90s and beyond.
We’re talking about balance. And while few of us give it much thought, the truth is maintaining good balance as you age can literally be the difference between your staying in your own home or your living out your golden years in a nursing home.
Balance is what allows you to climb stairs, tie your own shoes and even get in and out of the shower without help. And good balance is essential for preventing falls!
But if you’re already starting to feel a bit unsteady on your feet, or you’ve never felt all the sure footed to begin with, don’t panic. You can improve your balance starting today and we’ll show you exactly how. Best of all it won’t cost you a dime because you don’t need to go to a gym or buy any special equipment to do it.
5 better balance exercises to keep you on your feet
Following are five simple but powerful balance exercises you can do practically anytime and anywhere. Just check in with your doctor first and remember to always hold onto something like the back of a chair or a counter until you become rock steady on your feet. After all, the last thing we want to happen is to have you take a tumble while you’re working on preventing future falls!
1. Stand on one foot:
Using your chair if you need it, lift your right foot a few inches off the ground. Stand for 10 to 30 seconds balancing on your left foot. Switch feet. Repeat five times. As you progress, work on lifting your foot higher and eventually once you’re steady on your feet letting go of the chair.
2. Side leg lift:
Shift your weight fully onto your right leg and while holding onto the chair in front of you lift your left leg up and out to the side. Hold your leg in the air for 10 seconds, then switch feet. Repeat five times. This exercise will help with both balance and muscle building.
3. Toe-heel lifts:
Stand up on your toes as high as you can comfortably reach. Hold the position for 10 seconds, then rock back onto your heels lifting your toes into the air. Stand on your heels for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
4. Hip circles:
Plant your feet about hip width apart. Circle your hips wide, to the right, without moving your shoulders or feet. Repeat the wide circle, but this time to the left. Complete five full circles on both sides. This one helps with both balance and flexibility.
5. Heel-toe walking:
Stay close to the wall for balance until you’re comfortable with this one. Walk a straight line placing your heels as close to your toes as you can with each step. Walk the length of your hallway or room, then turn around and come back.
Good balance is essential to living a full, independent life no matter your age. Start working on yours today!