3 August 2022
While tumbling into a potential sweetheart is cute in Rom-Com movies, in reality it can cause real damage. Having nothing to break your fall but the ground can be worse. As we fall, the natural tendency is to splay out our arms which can easily lead to a fractured wrist, arm, or other bones.
Strengthening balance isn’t just for seniors. If you enjoy touch football, bicycling, dancing, skiing or snowboarding, golf, or other activities, you will need to be sure you are sure footed or you can risk injury.
As you move through these exercises, you may find it best if you engage your core muscles in the process. That will have an added benefit of reducing any stomach overhang and relieving back discomfort.
While these are pretty easy, give them your full attention. It is better to do only two repetitions perfectly than to do 10 that are flawed. Since doing only a few will take less time, you are more likely to do them daily and not get bored or overwhelmed. You can also switch up the order or do only a few.
Many of these require a chair at least in the beginning. Make sure it is solid and steady.
Stand on One Leg – Hold on to the back of a chair and lift the right foot. Release your hold on the chair and balance on the left foot for one minute or as long as possible. Repeat with the other foot.
Heel to Toe – This can be more difficult than it sounds. Place your right foot directly in front of your left so that the right heel touches the left toe. Walk this way like you are on a tightrope for as many steps as possible or up to 20 paces. Keeping your arms outstretched may help with balance.
Back Leg Raise – Stand behind the chair and hold on. Slowly lift your right leg straight back without bending the knees on either leg and don’t point the right leg’s toes. Keep good posture and don’t let the torso bend forward. Hold the leg as high as comfortable for a count of three. Slowly lower the right leg and repeat with the left. This will strengthen the back muscles and tighten the glutes.
Side Leg Raise – Holding onto the back of a chair, with your feet slightly apart, slowly lift your right leg out to the side, keeping your toe facing forward. Keep your back straight the entire time, don’t bend. Slowly lower the right leg back into position. Repeat with the left leg. Work up to 15 times per leg.
Toe Lifts – Stand straight with your arms stretched in front of you. You may want to hold onto a solid chair or countertop. Lift up onto your toes as high as possible. Keep your back straight and don’t lean over. Lower slowly. If you are comfortable with your balance, don’t hold on.
Wall Pushups – Easier than traditional pushups, these are recommended for seniors or those who have difficulty getting up and down from the floor. Stand at arm’s length in front of a plain wall that has nothing on it or in front of it. Leaning slightly forward put your palms flat on the wall at shoulder height. Keep your feet firmly flat on the floor and bring your body toward the wall. Gently push yourself back so that your arms are again straight.
Obviously one of the key points for safety during any of these exercises is that you wear sturdy shoes that allow you to be flat footed.