How many times a day do you think about your balance? Balance is an important part of many of the activities we do every day, such as walking, going up and down stairs, or getting in and out of a chair. By being aware of your balance and working to strengthen it, you can help prevent falls that may cause injury and move more confidently during your daily activities. Often we are not fully aware that we may have weak balance until we try balance exercises, according to the American Heart Association. Give yourself a “balance check” — at the level appropriate for you, try the following exercises suggested by trainer James “JT” Thompson. Doing these exercises as part of your fitness program will help you improve your balance and increase your leg strength.
JT identifies body weight squats as a great way to improve balance and increase leg strength. Squats are demonstrated in the photos below at three fitness levels. The beginner level can be done with the assistance of a chair or pole. The intermediate level can be done on the bubble side of a BOSU® ball. The advanced level can be done on the flat side of the BOSU ball.
For all three levels, feet are to be shoulder width apart, your chin should be up, and you should be pushing through the floor with your heels. Try it with both feet planted and, if you’re comfortable, progress to balancing with each foot planted one at a time during repetitions to really isolate your balance and strength. The goal is to squat down to a 90 degree angle. Even if you can’t go that low, go until you’re out of your comfort zone to maintain resistance. This exercise can be done 2 to 3 times a week. Try to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions if possible.
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (BOSU ball with rounded side up)
ADVANCED LEVEL (BOSU ball with flat side up)
Working with a personal trainer can help you be more successful in reaching your fitness goals. If you are interested in working with JT or another trainer, please give us a call at 540-825-0000.