Balance exercises are important at all ages, but especially as we get older. In this article we discuss their relevance and some useful tips to practice them.
Balance is a complex and essential ability. Its control includes the continuous coordination of the sensory, cognitive and motor systems. Some exercises can help improve balance and balance to prevent instability problems.
As we get older it is important to take care of ourselves and put the means to prevent these alterations. Different types of factors influence here, such as musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, sensory and cognitive. That is why balance exercises throughout life can help prevent future problems.
How do balance exercises help us to improve?
A bad balance leads to many problems. One of the best known has to do with falls.
In fact, in young and healthy people, balance arises from an automatic reflex. However, as we get older or due to sedentary lifestyle, reflexes become slower and muscles weaker and less flexible. As a consequence, it is much easier to fall.
Many people with balance problems and instability know that they are taking risks. And that is why they enter a vicious cycle of inactivity. And not only are physical capabilities reduced, but confidence is reduced as well.
Several systems are involved in equilibrium. Specifically the visual, the vestibular of the inner ear and the proprioceptive of muscles and joints.
Balance exercises are important in old age or when we already begin to notice stability problems. In any case, it is never too late to carry them out and improve aspects that have to do with accident prevention.
Recommended exercises for balance and stability
Balance exercises help maintain stability and confidence. After all, it is a capacity that we need in many of our daily activities.
We are going to see some of the most recommended balance exercises. Do not forget that in case of having any related problem you should consult with your doctor. Sometimes it will be necessary to perform the movements with someone to help.
1. Walk on the heels or on the balls of the feet
This exercise consists of walking raising the toes, supporting only the heels or on tiptoe. It can be done with sports shoes or barefoot. Ideally, without support. It can be concrete next to the wall or next to a railing.
2. Balancing with weight change
Stand with your legs slightly apart. Swing to the side, lift your leg off the ground (you don’t need to raise it too high), and put all your weight on one foot. Then return to the starting position and carry the weight to the opposite side. You can do the exercise while holding onto a railing or wall until you can free yourself from the support and grip.
3. Walk on a line
Lay a smooth ribbon on the floor. You can use an elastic band that, as it is about the width of the foot, can serve as a guide.Walk along the belt placing one foot in front of the other. Press the heel against the toe of the back foot. Walks upright.
Stand near a wall or ask someone to join you. The exercise can be done forwards and also backwards.
4. Balance on one leg
This exercise is very simple. It consists of raising one leg and leaning on the other. To do this, stand near a stable surface and raise one bent leg.
The base leg should be firmly on the ground. The ideal is to lift without support, but in case of not being able to do it, the grip is valid. Try to hold the pose for 30 seconds.
5. Walk shaking your head
Walk forward moving your head in different ways:
To the left and to the right (as a “no”).
Bringing the head up and down (like a “yes”).
Bringing the ear to the shoulder (like a “maybe”).
It is important that you perform the movements in a controlled and coordinated way, without haste and with something close to hold on to. If you have balance problems, it is better to do this exercise with someone next to you.
Importance of balance in life
Balance is a fundamental ability that will help you maintain body awareness. That is, proprioception. That is why it helps us to relate to the environment and to master everyday situations, which prevents injuries.
Furthermore, balance is closely related to coordination. In fact, balance training requires the whole body to work together. In this way, the improvement in coordination during balance exercises will have a direct reflection on everyday life.
It is also important to note that balance is related to joint stability. The training promotes stability in the knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders.
Another aspect in which balance influences is the ability to react, since training can improve response time. For example, in situations where you slip or trip.
Balance exercises are preventive
It is never too late to start working out balance exercises. If you already do sports regularly, do not forget to include them in your routine or combine them with the practice of disciplines that place a lot of emphasis on this, such as yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi.
If you are not in good shape and are thinking of starting exercise, it is a good idea to spend time on balance exercises as part of a functional training. It will serve you both for your daily life and to improve your performance in the rest of what you decide to practice.