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Using Strength-building Exercises to Improve Balance

Using Strength-building Exercises to Improve Balance

You might think that your balance is controlled by your inner ear, and while this is mostly true, the strength of your core muscles, as well as that of your limbs, also plays a big part. If your muscles are weak, especially if the weakness is pronounced more on one side, you’ll find it hard to maintain balance if you’re moving around.

Primarily, you need to work on your core muscles, especially your abdominals, as these hold you upright and enable you to deal with sudden movement or posture changes. Before you do any of these exercises, engage your abs by tightening them, as if you’re about to receive a body blow, as this will strengthen them and help to prevent injury.

One-legged stance

Keep a heavy or stable chair within arm’s reach and stand with your feet together. Close your eyes and lift one foot, either in front of you or to the side, and hold the position for a few seconds. Swap feet and do four reps for each leg.

Leg swings

Similar to the one-legged stance, except once you’ve raised your foot 3-6 inches off the ground, you swing it to-and-fro, keeping your torso upright. Don’t let your foot touch the ground. Swap sides and do four reps. If you feel steady enough, swing out your left foot and your right arm, then swap over again.

One-legged clock

Balance on one leg with your torso upright, head up and forward and your hands on your hips. Imagine you’re a clock face – put one arm up to 12.00, then 3.00, then swing it round to 9.00. Swap arms and do it the other way round.

One-legged squat

With your feet placed hip-width apart, push your left foot forward, trying not to touch the floor with it. Then lower your hips back and down so your right knee is bent. Your torso should still be upright, with your arms out to the front. Make sure your knees never jut out beyond your feet. Rise up to a standing position before swapping feet and completing four reps for each side.

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