By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS*D
Balance is critical to our daily living activities. Without balance, we would be constantly reaching and grasping for stable objects to prevent falling, stumbling or injuring ourselves.
Here are several variations of a basic exercise to help develop and maintain your sense of balance. Once you are able to do one exercise example for up to one minute without movement, then progress to the next example.
Make certain you are standing near a sturdy chair, or wall, to help catch your balance, if need be, in the following sequences of movement.
• Stand with your feet touching one another in a side by side, or heel to toe.
• Hold your hands at your side and close your eyes.
• Maintain this position, without swaying side to side or backward to front, for several seconds up to one minute.
• Assume the same position with your feet as the basic example above.
• Move your arms to the sides in a random fashion, still maintaining your balance.
• Tip your head back and continue to move your arms.
• Now close your eyes and continue the arm movements.
• Maintain the feet in the same pattern, side to side or heel to toe.
• Reach down to the front, side and the rear with one arm then the other.
• See how far you can reach down before losing your balance.
• Remember to keep your feet together and don’t sway as you reach, just reach, keep your balance and then reach in another direction.
• Keep the feet in the same position as the rest of the examples.
• Tip your head back and now close your eyes.
• Move your arms in a random fashion, one arm at a time.
More advanced example:
• Feet are still in the side-by-side position or heel to toe.
• Head tipped back and eyes closed.
• Lift one leg off the floor and maintain your balance for 10-15 seconds, gradually build up your ability to remain in one position without moving about to stay upright.
Super advanced example:
• Set up is the same as the more advanced example with the simple change now of adding the reaches as mentioned in the intermediate example.
Have fun practicing these few sample exercises, they will keep your life more balanced!