Exercises to Improve Balance

Photo Credit: Local Fitness
Improving your balance can be as easy as shifting your weight from one leg to the other. Stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips to help you maintain your balance. If you are unsteady on your feet, hold onto a chair or table for balance assistance. Shift your weight to your left foot and raise your right foot off the floor about 2 inches. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and then lower your foot. Repeat on the other side. Hold the position longer or do more repetitions as your balance improves.
Balancing on a pillow or Bosu ball works your leg muscles and improves your proprioception, or your ability to sense the position of your body. Balancing exercises shift your body’s center of gravity, which requires numerous adjustments by your muscles to maintain your balance. Place a pillow on the floor and stand in the middle of the pillow with your feet slightly apart. Slowly lift one foot about 2 inches off the pillow. Balance on one foot on the pillow for up to 1 minute and then change legs. Increase the length of time you stand on one foot or close your eyes to make the exercise harder when you can hold the position for more than 1 minute without wavering.
Heel-to-toe walking is a challenging balance exercise. Hold onto a table or counter if you have balance problems, feel unsteady or waver when trying to do heel-to-toe walking. Stand up straight and look straight ahead. Slowly place your right heel in front of your left foot and touch your left toes with your right heel. Lift your left foot, step forward and place your left heel against your right toes. Walk 10 or more feet. When this exercise becomes too easy, try it with your eyes closed.

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