This next exercise should not be attempted around broken glass, gravel or sharp knives. If you have a padded room that would be best. Safest. Here’s what you do. Close your eyes. Stand there for a couple of seconds. Then, slowly raise your right leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Hold it there. It’s not as easy as it sounds is it.
If you can hold that pose for about 20 seconds add this move into the mix. Raise both arms above your head until they are straight and your fingertips are pointing to the ceiling.
Even harder right? But if you are still with me and not toppling over try this last element. Slowly bend your left leg until you know you can’t safely go any lower, then slowly raise yourself back up. And if that doesn’t have you stumbling around you are a better man than me. Of course you might also be a better woman, but to be honest that wouldn’t really be very hard.
The point of this is to make you aware of just how important balance is in our lives. Not just balance in our diet and work and home lives - though those things are tremendously important – but also balance in our physical life. Most of the activities and actions we do depend on having a good sense of balance. The better the balance the less stress and strain on the individual parts of the body and the less risk of hurting yourself.
If you go to a gym today the odds are that you’ll see lots of people doing odd exercises such as lifting weights while balancing on one foot on an uneven surface. It may seem peculiar – ok, it is peculiar – but the idea is to work out several different muscle groups at the same time to improve strength and balance, because they both go together in helping you build a stronger healthier body.
So if you tried the exercise I mentioned at the beginning and failed miserably, break it down into small segments and start again. First just try standing on one foot for ten seconds. Once you have that down make it 20 seconds. Then do it with your eyes shut. Then do it with your eyes shut and your arms raised. Then all of those and throw in a lunge for good measure.
Once you have got that down – for both legs – then maybe it’s time to make it even more dynamic and work out those core and other muscles even harder to build up better balance. That’s when you can add in things like wobble or balance boards to really test your ability. Don’t worry if you keep falling off at first – we all do – stick with it and you’ll quickly (or eventually) get the hang of it.
And what’s really nice is this is the kind of exercise you can do at work, at your desk, on the bus on the way home, in line at the supermarket, anywhere you like.
If you are looking for more ways to improve your balance without expensive equipment, classes or personal trainers check out these exercise. They are from the AARP website but they are great for people of any age.