No-one would argue against the benefit of better balance.
It has the ability to enhance all aspects of daily life. Balance is fundamental for coordination and movement in general. Improving balance will allow you to move with ease, confidence and style. Balance training may not be glamorous but its value and benefit for wellbeing and health is hugely important.
But even with acknowledging its importance, how many of us actively do balance exercise and training during a week?
It turns out, not many.
So, we thought we’d put this guide together to highlight the best exercises for improving balance.
From participating in sports, to making everyday tasks that little bit easier, these exercises could very well become your secret weapon!
So, what are the best exercises for improving balance?
Best Balance Exercises
One Legged Exercises
One legged exercises are a great place to start. Beginners and professional athletes alike can benefit from this simple approach to balance.
Stood on one leg, perform an array of movements and exercises (suitable for your fitness level).
This could include:
- dumbbell shoulder press
- dumbbell bicep curls
- Kettlebell shoulder press
- Barbell shoulder press
- Dumbbell lateral raises
Lunges are great for improving balance.
Simply walk forwards and lower each leg to the ground in a lunging motion.
For added difficulty, hold weights in each hand.
This variation to the regular squat involves more similarities to everyday life so the squat helps develop muscles and overall balance in a way that replicates normal life.
The pistol squat is challenging but one of the top exercises for improving balance.
The pistol squat is a one legged squat where the lifted leg is straightened in front of the body.
This involves strength, flexibility and balance.
Single Straight Leg Deadlift
The single straight leg deadlift is a great movement you can do anywhere.
Standing on one leg and keeping your legs straight, bend forward.
To begin with, just practice this movement and once you feel confident, you can add a bar or weights in your hands to add difficulty.
Free Weight Exercises
Balance training needs to go beyond just being able to balance on one leg.
Having full control of your whole body is vital for all-round balance. Free weight exercises help improve upper body balance and develop micro stabilising movements as well as overall balance.
Free weight exercises offer the additional benefit over machines and stationary equipment, in that your body is forced to balance the weights. This means your body learns how to stabilise and balance the weights to perform the movements.
What is Balance Training?
Balance training is the development of muscles to improve control over your body. This helps reduce falls and allows for better body movement.
Balance training exercises are largely divided into 2 types: Static and Dynamic balance exercises.
Static exercises involve holding a position. Standing on one leg is an example of a static movement to help improve balance.
This is good for seniors and those who want to ease into balance training.
Dynamic training involves movement and maintaining a position while in motion.
Lunges are an example of a dynamic movement that will improve balance. As you lunge from one leg to the other, your body will naturally be challenged to maintain an upright position, helping develop stabilising muscles to improve balance.
Yoga and Tai Chi are also examples of fitness classes that are likely to improve your balance too.
Benefits of Balance Training
Benefits of balance exercise and training include:
Better balance means better movement. From sports to everyday life, improving mobility will empower you to do more.
Balance is vital for movement and something many of us take for granted – but as we age, our natural balance declines which can limit movement (leading to a more sedentary lifestyle).
Reduced Risk of Falls
Falls are one of the top causes of injury and morbidity in seniors. Improving balance is a great way to minimise the risk of falls and subsequent injuries.
Balance is pivotal in strength training. Lifting any sort of weight requires body coordination and balance.
Strength training offers a multitude of benefits for over 50s, so improving balance can help take advantage of all these benefits.
Sports, Activities and Adventure
Better balance will improve performance for sports and active hobbies.
This can make a world of difference for those looking to take up new hobbies in retirement or join a sports club.
Improving balance means that you can focus on the skills of a sport and not worry about the mobility during the activity, helping you get more out of it.
Improving your balance will help support healthy joint movement and stability. Stabilising muscles will work closely with joints so improving joint stability is also really important for overall wellbeing.
Balance training exercises help develop key coordination skills which are really useful in all aspects of life.
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