Balance-over-forty

Four easy exercises for balance

Small things make a difference.

My guest writer and local Osteopath, Liam McCambridge recently spoke about the importance of balance, especially as we age. In this article, Liam gives you some easy balance exercises you can do at home, with zero equipment. Phew….No balance beams or crazy moves. Just four practical exercises you can do right now.

Start with a single leg balance.

It’s one of the simplest ways to improve your balance. If you’re a beginner, we recommend doing this exercise with a chair or sturdy object nearby so you can steady yourself if you need to. It doesn’t matter which leg you start with or how you hold your raised leg, just aim to hold the position for 1 minute! Then switch to the other leg. Once you have the single mastered? It’s time to get creative, making it more difficult by adding an extra activity into the mix. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking: Try closing your eyes
, or throwing and catching a ball. Or standing on one leg whilst you do chores or tasks you do everyday such as brushing your teeth
, hanging your laundry, cutting food in the kitchen, washing the dishes. Or as you build confidence try standing on an unstable surface, such as a pillow or folded bath towel
.

The Clam Shell exercise

You can even do this balance exercise in bed. Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent to around 45 degrees. Then, squeezing those glutes (bum muscles), keep your feet together and try and open up at the knees like a clam-shell. Hold this for a few seconds, then relax the leg back down, repeating 2-3 lots of 10-15.

Clench that $100

This exercise is normally used to build up leg strength (which is also an important factor for good balance), however, it can also be used as a balance specific exercise itself.
As you go to stand up, tense through your glutes (bum muscles) like there is a $100 note between your bum cheeks and you don’t want to let go. With your feet shoulder width apart, lean forwards slightly through your hips, keeping your back straight. You may have your hands out in front of you for balance if you wish. Then, push down through your heels to stand up (slowly if need be). As you go to sit, try hovering above the chair for a few moments before fully sitting down. The longer you hold this ‘hovering’ position, the more your balance will be challenged. No specific time needs to be put aside for this exercise, just perform it every time you go to stand or sit and the benefits will come.

Life goes up and down.

Just like a Calf Raise. This exercise is super simple! All you need to do is rise up onto your tippy toes, hold that position for a few seconds, and then lower yourself back down to the floor.
Once you’re feeling confident with that, you can make it harder by balancing on one leg while you rise up to your tippy toes, or try adding some of the additional options from the single leg raise ie closed eyes etc.

Focus on your form and set yourself a goal

As with anything these are the basics; the building blocks on the road to success. Anything done well starts with a good foundation, and consistency. So do these four exercises consistently and you’ll discover a steadier you.

Thanks to our guest writer Liam McCambridge operates his Osteo clinic from 129 Thuringowa Dr, Kirwan. Or head to his website at nextosteorehab.com.au to make a booking.

Next time: You’ve made progress, what next?