Have you ever felt clumsy, tripped over your own feet, or actually fell to the ground? In one way or another, we have all experienced a loss of balance in some way. In certain cases, these instances can result in serious injuries. Did you know that you can improve your balance at any age, just by doing simple exercises?
1. Single Leg Stance: Stand with a chair or counter top in front of you. Pick 1 foot up off the ground and try to remain standing in place. Use the chair or counter to regain balance if needed. Goal: hold 30 sec without touching chair or counter. If this becomes easy, try eyes closed.
2. Squats: Stand with a chair or counter top in front of you. Stick your bottom back and bend your knees into a partial squat position. You may lean forward slightly, but keep your back straight (bend at the waist). Don’t allow your knees to come in front of your toes, and keep your heels in contact with the floor at all times. Return to standing, and repeat x 10.
3. Tandem Walking (Walking the Line): Walk in a straight line placing one foot directly in front of the other in line so that the heel of the front foot touches the toes of the back foot. Make sure you are maintaining upright posture. Goal: 10 steps without losing balance.
4. Ambulation with High Knees: Walk forward bringing one knee up and alternating. Start out slowly and perform faster as tolerated.
5. Sit to Stand: Start by sitting on a stable chair. Rise to stand and then slowly lower back to seated position. Perform 10 reps. If this becomes too easy, perform with single leg. Single Leg: Start in standing position, with stable chair behind you. Keep one foot where it as placed for the regular sit to stand, and stick other leg slightly out in front of you (knee straight). Slowly sit back to lower yourself to seated position. Rise back to starting position and repeat.
Perform these exercises twice a day and you should start to see an improvement in your balance.
Ashley Bland, PTA