Balance is an essential aspect of our lives and important to all aspects of our well-being. Proper balance prevents falls and injuries and increases your confidence by doing all the things we do throughout the day. We can easily take it for granted and forget to work on our balance. We want to help you to maintain your balance and even improve it over time. When you do this, you will stay healthier, happier, and more vibrant throughout your life. This is what is most important to us and hopefully to you too!
1. Squats are a great way to gradually strengthen the muscles of your core, hips, and legs. We love the squat for many reasons. It does not require any equipment, it is a simple motion, and provides great strength and balance over time. Try your squat straight down, the front, side, or back. 3 sets of 10 each day is ideal. Once you build up strength you can do single-leg squats. One fun time to do your squats is while you are brushing your teeth! You get happy teeth and a strong body at the same time. What could be better?
2. Another exercise that directly improves your balance is weight shifting. You can do this anytime and anywhere. To do this, simply shift your weight back and forth from your right leg to your left leg. You can keep both feet on the ground or if you are feeling like you want a bigger challenge, pick up your foot that is not holding all of your weight. You can do this while standing in line or while you are one of the many zoom calls that we have been on due to all the work from home. The added bonus is that you will be getting stronger and staying away while your co-workers drone on in the meeting!
3. Single leg stand is an easy progression from weight shifting. Start by balancing for about 30 seconds and repeat on either side. Over time you will be able to increase the number of sets and the time that you can stand. Single leg balance exercises improve both leg strength as well as overall balance by teaching your body to correct itself when you start to tip over. As you get good at a single leg stand, try closing your eyes! It is so much harder and helps you even more especially when walking on uneven ground or outside when it is snowing or raining. This is something that you can do anytime throughout your day. Let us know all the creative ways that you work this into your day so that others can be inspired by your greatness!
4. Exercise classes are other great ways to improve balance. Some of our favorites include yoga and HIIT workouts. They definitely allow you to practice balance while performing all the dynamic motion and poses. Yoga has an added benefit to you, in that, you get to practice mindfulness, which is good for your head and reduces stress. Who doesn’t need to reduce stress? HIIT classes are fun and interactive. They get your heart rate up. A healthy heart is a happy heart!
5. Probably this next tip is the simplest tip. Make sure you are wearing proper shoes. Proper shoes are ones that are comfortable to wear all day long and give you good stability. They support your arches and provide cushion to reduce stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and back. Certain shoes that are pretty and not functional, such as high heels, increase your risk of losing balance and/or rolling your ankle. Let’s keep those legs supported and healthy!
6. The most important tip in all of these is to get a good night’s sleep. Drowsiness always reduces your ability to process all parts of life, keeps you distracted, increases the risk of falls, accidents, and injuries. Getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night will improve all parts of your life and all parts of your body function. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a nightly routine. Get your body ready for sleep by doing some deep breathing or meditation, shut off the television, computers, iPads, and phones. A very healthy thing for you to do is to keep your screens out of your bedroom. This will eliminate unnecessary distractions when trying to fall asleep and make it more difficult for you to impulsively reach for your phone if you wake up in the middle of the night. Use an eye mask or light-blocking curtains to protect your natural circadian rhythm. If you live in a city or somewhere with quite a lot of outside noise, we encourage you to use earplugs. Invest in Future You by getting in all of your zzz’s every night.