Let’s talk balance. Why is it important and if you’ve noticed that you feel a little unsteady, what can you do about it?
Balance is the ability to respond to your environment, so you can stay upright. It requires communication from your body, eyes, and inner ear to your brain to tell you where you are in space – preferably without you having to think about it.
As we get older, our balance often declines, which can lead to fall risks. Balance is also important if you enjoy any outdoor activity, including gardening or hiking. In short, balance is a part of everything we do – both recreationally and in everyday life.
3 simple ways to improve balance
1. Stimulate the bottom of your feet by rolling it with a tennis ball
Why it works. The soles of your feet have lots of nerve endings, so when you roll your feet, you stimulate those nerves, which helps your brain sense your feet. This in turn can make your body more responsive to the ground, thus improving balance.
2. Practice lower body strength exercises
Part of feeling stable comes from how strong your legs are! Practicing strength exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges, can improve lower body strength and balance. The glutes are particularly important when it comes to strength, because they give you power when walking…hiking…climbing the stairs…ect… which can reduce how hard your lower leg has to work to stabilize you.
And fun fact, when your lower leg isn’t working as hard, everything thing feels easier (oh and your calves might not feel so dang tight!).
Need some glute inspiration?!
3. Try single leg exercises barefoot
Ever stand on one leg (particularly when barefoot) and notice that your foot and ankle felt wobbly? That’s a good thing! The wobbles are your nervous system making tiny micro adjustments by engaging the muscles in your foot and leg to keep your upright.
The more your practice it, the easier it gets. Wondering what some of those exercises might look like? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s a simple 5 minute standing sequence that I put together for you to improve balance. No equipment required, so you can do it anywhere 😉 Also, if you need to place your hand on a wall or chair, that’s okay too! Meet your body where it’s at.
Standing exercises to improve balance