Fitness Interest (Balance Exercises): How To Improve Your Balance
Balance exercise is one of the four types of exercise, along with strength, endurance and flexibility. All four types should be included in a healthy workout routine.
It is necessary to do a variety of exercises to keep the body fit and healthy, and to keep your physical activity routine interesting.
A variety of exercises can improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. For example, practicing yoga can strengthen your core muscles and improve your balance. A lot of lower-body strength-training exercises will also improve your balance.
Balance is essential for many of the activities we perform every day. Exercises that improve balance can help prevent falls, which can be a common problem in older adults and stroke patients.
For people who are obese, exercise can help improve balance. While we do not always notice it, weight is not always distributed evenly throughout our bodies, and this imbalance can affect our balance. We may also not be aware of our own weaknesses until we try to improve them by exercising.

How much do I need?

Balance exercises can be done once or twice a day, or as many times as you like. Older adults at risk of falls should do balance training 3 or more days a week and do standardized exercises from a program demonstrated to reduce falls.
While it is not known whether different combinations of activities and exercise can reduce falls to a greater degree, if you think that you might be at risk of falling, talk to your doctor.
Tai chi exercises can help prevent falls. Balance, strength and flexibility exercises can be combined to increase overall fitness.

Try these balance exercises:

  1. See how long you can stand on one foot, or try holding for 10 seconds on each side.
  2. Walk heel to toe for 20 steps. Steady yourself with a wall if you need a little extra support.
  3. Walk normally in as straight a line as you can.

If you find standing on one foot very challenging at first, try this progression to improve your balance:

  • Hold on to a wall or sturdy chair with both hands to support yourself.
  • Next, hold on with only one hand.
  • Then support yourself with only one finger.
  • When you are steady on your feet, try balancing with no support at all.

Examples of balance exercises:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi

You can do balance exercises anytime or anywhere.

  • Try standing on one foot while working in the kitchen, waiting in line or brushing your teeth.
  • Walk heel to toe around the house or office.
  • Yoga and Tai Chi do not require expensive classes or equipment. Find an instructional book, DVD or website to get started at home. Local recreation centers and senior centers may also offer free or low-cost classes.

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