Balance Exercises for All Ages

Perfecting Your Balance

 

Michael Czech, a personal trainer at the Summit YMCA, has put together an easy to follow workout to help keep your body improve balance.

No matter what your age or fitness ability may be, it is important to be able to maintain physical balance. Falling and being injured is always dangerous but even more so right now with our medical front line workers over-inundated with cases of Covid-19. Keep yourself healthy and help others as a result by following this simple workout.

Before you begin you may want to gather a chair to use in case you begin to feel off-balance, as well a roll of non-clear tape (ex. Masking tape) to use as a visual aid to stay moving in a straight line. This workout combines 6 movements to test your balance, working areas throughout the entire body. For the best results, do each movement more than once a day with a goal of somewhere between 2-10 times daily.

Start by placing a piece of tape around 6 feet long on the floor. We recommend putting the tape down near a kitchen counter for additional help in case you feel unbalanced at any point during the workout.

 

  1. 1. Single Foot Balance: Start off by standing on one foot, your other foot should be raised just slightly off the floor. Hold this position as you slowly count to five. Now switch feet and repeat your count. Repeat this exercise until you have completed it 10 times on each foot.

 


  1. 2. Heel to Toe Walk: Pretend you are walking on a tight rope take slow steps forward in a straight line using your tape line as a visual guide. As you move forward make sure your trailing foot’s toes touch the back of the leading foot’s heel. Once you reach the end of the line, turn around and go back the other way. Or if you are up for a challenge, try moving backwards, but if you decide to attempt this make sure you have something to grab onto in case you begin to feel off-balance.

 


  1. 3. Forward Knee Raises: Walk forward with your hands straight out in front of you. Each time you pick up your foot raise up your knee so it taps your hand. Move slowly and take small steps as you go.

 


  1. 4. Skater Step: Moving diagonally forward like a Skier. Start by standing with your feet together, bend your knees and take a step with your right foot at a slight diagonal, in the direction of 2 o’clock. Bring your right foot down, and raise your left foot in the same direction (but you are standing only on your right foot still, the left is in the air about 2 inches) and hold the pose for a 2 count. Then bring the left even to the right on the floor. Now its time to move in the opposite direction, bring your left foot up and move it diagonally, in the direction of 10 o’clock. Bring your left foot down and raise your right foot, following the right foot and hold the foot in the air for a 2 count. Repeat across the entire room and feel free to swing your arms in line with the motion.

 


  1. 5. Straight Legged Walk: This one might feel a little silly so make sure to embrace it! Stand up straight and walk forward by swinging your legs out straight in front of you. The key is keeping your leg straight as you do this motion, think of raising your heel to the ceiling, only as high as you can (about as high as your knee in most cases).

 


  1. 6. Grapevine: This sideways step will not only help you balance but will also test your coordination. Start by standing with your feet together and pick up your right foot and move it to the right, transitioning into a wide stance. Now move your left foot to cross over and in front of your right foot. Uncross your legs by stepping to the right with your right foot again. Your feet are now like when you started. Now we are going to move first with our leg foot, moving it again to the right but this time it should fall behind your right foot, again crossing your legs. Uncross by stepping right with the right foot to the beginning stance again. Continue to alternate.


By taking the time to do these quick movements daily you are not only prioritizing your physical health but you are also improving your balance. The more you practice these movements, the easier they will become. If you are looking for more space when starting your workout, try moving outside but as always be safe and make sure you feel steady on your feet before beginning. If you are nervous be sure to have someone do the workout with you, even if they are socially distanced from you!

Looking for more activities to do at home? Visit our My Y At Home page to find activities and resources for everyone. We miss you and cannot wait to see you again soon.