9 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Balance
Balance is a skill that allows you to control and move your body. As with other skills, it declines with age and infrequent use. Imbalance issues, such as trips and falls, often occur because the legs and calves lack the strength to support your entire weight. Try these nine simple yet surprising ways to improve balance.
Most people think of walking as a cardio activity, but it’s also the safest balance exercise that doesn’t require any equipment. You can integrate it into any routine since you likely already do it every day. The best thing is you can bring your fur friend along. Walking helps you build leg strength, which is vital for good balance.
Unless you have a condition limiting your mobility, start swapping the drives to nearby parks and grocery stores for walks. Set a fitness goal to increase your time and distance every week.
2. Flamingo Stand
Imitating a flamingo by standing on one foot can improve balance and core strength. This pose is a form of static balance exercise. As you lift the other leg, engage the core muscles to support your entire body and stay upright. More than balance, you need strength to stand like a flamingo.
Did you know that a flamingo that masters the one-legged stand is more likely to survive and gain access to the best resources? Unlike flamingos, standing on one leg isn’t a case of survival for humans — but good balance skills prevent accidents like falls.
Yoga is a combination of strength, flexibility, endurance and balance training. It can strengthen and stretch muscle groups essential for maintaining balance.
The tree, dancer and warrior III poses all require you to put your body’s weight on one foot to keep your center of gravity. These forms have moderate to high intensity. If you’ve tried yoga before, these are great sets of movements to add to your balance training.
Meanwhile, the combination of cat, cow and cobra poses builds the core power to work in harmony with other body muscles to keep the body steady.
4. Tai Chi
Tai chi is a gentle mind-body exercise known as a meditation in motion. It teaches you to sustain the body’s equilibrium as you stay upright and change to a series of movements. Stronger leg muscles can improve balance as you move, making it an excellent exercise to build your balance. It’s a combined exercise and meditation, giving you two benefits in a single activity.
Practicing tai chi may benefit older adults with declining balance skills. A controlled trial concluded that tai chi may reduce the risk of falls by 19% and the number of people who experience falls by 20%.
Stretching supports body coordination, which helps you stabilize. Stretching has several merits that affect your ability to sustain a balanced movement.
One study discovered that doing lower extremity stretching exercises for 10 weeks raised the Berg balance score of nearly 70% of older adult participants. The Berg balance score measures the person’s ability to balance during stability challenges safely.
Stretching can increase your range of motion and make your muscles flexible. When you’re more agile, you can move without falling.
Pickleball is more than just a game for older people. It’s a racket sport similar to tennis, badminton and ping-pong, but it’s also a fun alternative to exercise instead of the traditional gym.
It’s ideal for older adults since it’s low-impact and doesn’t demand too much energy from players. In one study, players took an average of 3,477 more steps during pickleball days. All the hops, runs, quick walks and moving around the court when playing pickleball can make the legs strong, contributing to better balance.
7. Lower Body Strength Exercise
Balance demands more strength from the lower extremities than the upper body. Squats, lunges and glute bridges provide a strong foundation for the lower body, especially the legs, to carry the entire body weight.
Squats work the glutes, calves and other leg muscles so you can bend and go back up without getting injured. They also engage the core for more steadiness. These three exercises target the necessary muscles to help you maintain your footing when standing, walking and doing other activities.
Does massage improve balance? You might be surprised to learn it does — especially for people with sore muscles in their lower body.
A study on the effect of using an Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) technique — a form of standard massage where the physical therapist uses a specialized instrument instead of their hands — found that the group who received IASTM for two minutes improved their single-leg balance by 48 hours. This same group also increased their leg strength when bending the knees and hip abduction or the ability to move the leg away from the center of the body.
Tension, aches and pain in the lower-body muscles can affect your stability. A session of massage can relieve these muscle problems and help you regain balance.
Therapy uses various instruments to support mobility. With aquatic therapy, the water eliminates 20%-100% of body mass when you’re submerged.
It reduces the pressure on the lower joints by having to carry all your weight. Since the body is naturally buoyant in water, anyone with an injury or chronic condition affecting their lower body can do balance and stability exercises without overstressing the joints. It’s an excellent method to integrate with balance exercise and reduce the risk of injuries.
Improve Your Balance Through Exercise and Massage
Exercise is the safest way to improve body balance. From low-impact tai chi, pickleball and walking to moderate to high-intensity stretching, flamingo stand, yoga and lower body training, choose from these seven options to incorporate into your exercise routine.
In addition, muscle massage and hydrotherapy can also aid in body stability. You can reap the various benefits of massage at home by using professional self-massage tools. Check out our line of powerful massagers guaranteed to relieve your muscle worries and pain from workouts.