How To Improve Your Balance
Would you like to run with the fluidity of a cheetah or have the balance of a flamingo when you stand on one leg? If instead of looking cool and well balanced you find yourself wobbling around like a jelly on a plate, there are ways to train up your body to be in control whatever stance you take. It takes time and effort but the payoff is worth it if you want to stay in control of your body well into your old age. Here are some tips to get started on finding your balance for a healthy body posture that will rival the experts in nature.
Importance Of Improving Balance
Maintaining balance while running is a crucial step in training. When you control the center of your body mass, it automatically improves your running speed and body posture. The better you are able to balance your body the more efficiently you can move forward with speed. When you are unable to balance your body there are higher chances of slipping and being injured. So it is essential to train your body for improving balance and wearing good trail running shoes.
How To Improve Balance
Naturally, our body balance tends to decline with age and we lose almost three-quarters of our body balance between the ages of 25 and 75. Therefore, it is essential to work on body balance from early in life. Proprioceptors are the sensory nerve endings of joints and muscles and are responsible for maintaining skeletal balance, and they are sensitive to changes in the body but their strength declines with vigorous running if not trained appropriately. With training, foot and leg muscles become stronger and their proprioceptors become ready for running which makes your movements smoother and faster while running.
1. One Foot Training
Centering or foot training is the basic training required for maintaining balance. It refers to shifting weight to the middle of the foot. When you shift your weight to the center of the foot while running, your body is automatically in balance. Since only one foot is on the ground and balancing the body, try to get comfortable with shifting all your weight onto one foot. This can be achieved through yoga or Pilates.
2. Use A Stability Ball
Use stability balls or an exercise ball in your exercise regime for improving balance. You can use this ball for strengthening your core muscles and for stretching exercises. Working out with the stability ball stabilizes your internal mechanism and improves body balance. You can also use this ball as a weight bench to perform various exercises.
3. Flamingo Posture
Achieving flamingo posture is ideal for improving body balance. Try standing on one leg like a flamingo for as long as you can. If you face difficulty balancing on one leg, you can bend your knee a bit to support your body. Repeat this flaming posture with your both legs. Most people are comfortable standing on one leg but cannot maintain their balance with another leg. Practice flamingo posture more with weaker side and gradually increase your stamina for standing on each leg.
4. Plank Rotations
Plank rotations are a bit different from regular planks. For plank rotation first, bring your right knee under your right elbow as in regular plank and then bring your right knee under left elbow. This is a little tricky and involves glutes and hips along with core muscles to improve your body balance. During rotatory plank, you can also drop your hips to the floor if you cannot manage to keep them high.
5. Curtsy Squat with Lunge
For a curtsy squat with lunge cross your right leg behind your left leg and then perform lunges in this position. This exercise requires a great deal of focus and involves your abs along with hips and glutes. It strengthens your muscles and helps you in improving your overall body balance.
6. Stork Stand
Stork stand is another beneficial exercise for improving your body balance. This exercise is performed barefoot and needs focus and concentration. For performing this exercise, first of all, stand on a flat surface and while maintaining your upright posture, lift one leg and bring the bent knee towards your chest. Stand in this position for 15 to 20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
To add variety to a stork stand you can perform this exercise with your eyes shut or by moving your arms in a circular motion while maintaining your balance. Standing on an unstable surface will further increase the difficulty level of this exercise.
7. Hip Swings
For hip swing exercise, stand on a balanced surface on one leg. Now bend your knee a bit for maintaining balance and then swing your other leg in front of you. Hold each end position for one second for controlling momentum.
Now repeat this with other leg and do 10 reps on each side.
8. Single-Leg Anterior Reach
For performing single-leg anterior reach balance your body on your left leg. Now lift your right leg behind the left leg while maintaining an upright posture. Next, lean forward and try to reach your left toe with your right hand and then return back to an upright position. Now perform the same with balancing on your right leg. Initially, do 10 reps on each leg and then build your stamina up till 20 reps for each leg.
9. Walking Single-Leg Squats
Walking single leg squats is another great exercise for improving your body balance. For this exercise simply perform your squats but not standing on a single place but by moving forward with each squat.
Taking a few minutes a day to work on your balance might leave others wondering what on earth you are doing standing around on one leg and waving the other around. But in the end, it’s your proprioceptors that will be fully trained so you can walk tall, run smooth and keep your balance with the added benefit of being nimble and light on your feet well into your dotage. So swing your hips with pride and smile as you walking your squats. When they get old and can’t get out of a chair, you’ll still be out strutting your stuff running around like a young gazelle.