Research shows that balance training improves balance and strength. It is definitely worth incorporating balance exercises into your regular workout routine.
Better Balance Study:
A study tested a specific routine and found participants had improved balance and strength when performing a 50-minutes workout that included a warm-up, 13 exercises stations (each repeated twice for 1 minute), and a cool down. The study did not fully explain each exercise, but I tried to piece it together as best I could.
I suspect there are a lot of moves you could do to improve balance, but what I like about this particular study is the variety it included. It challenged people to walk in different ways, balance on one foot, and balance on one foot while moving the rest of your body. Additionally, they incorporated some eye exercises. That was interesting because vision plays a big role in balance, but I also don’t think we often think of exercising our eyeballs. It feels pretty good.
If you’d like to try it I put together my best attempt at what I think their workout might have been here. Try it and see how it feels. If you don’t think this is a routine you would be willing to do multiple times a week, try to consider how you could incorporate some of these moves into your daily life. Every and any little bit helps.
Here’s what you’ll need for the better balance exercises:
- Ideally be barefoot, but sneakers if you are more comfortable
- 4-5 couch pillows, some foam egg crates (like you’d put on a mattress), or both—something that will create different surfaces for you.
- As large an open space as you have access to.
Listen to your body. If a movement doesn’t feel right for you yet, march in place. That will help you build strength and balance. Also, feel free to use a supportive chair or wall to help you. And, ONLY if you start to feel really confident, try some of the exercises with your eyes closed. In the study eventually participants progressed to doing this moves with eyes closed. But if they tried before they were ready they didn’t make gains. Wait till you feel confident and only then experiment with eyes closed. If you fall down and break something it winds up a setback.
Your core muscles matter for better balance too. Here are tips to get more out of your ab exercises.
Here are tips for focusing on what makes you grateful.
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