Physical therapist, Shawnee Haws, explains how simple exercises designed to strengthen and challenge your balance, can help you stay healthy, active and avoid injuries.
BALANCE BUILDING EXERCISES
1. Single Leg Stance: Stand with the feet 6-8 inches apart with good posture. Slowly lift one leg up so that the hip and knee are both bent to 90 degrees. Work up to a 30 second hold without moving or losing balance.
2. Heel Raises: Stand with the feet 6-8 inches apart with good posture. Slowly rise up onto your toes, aiming to keep the weight between your first and second toes and avoiding rolling your ankles; slowly lower back to your heels and repeat.
3. Balance Disc Challenge: Stand on a balance disc, pillow, couch cushion or thick mat (anything that gives to a little pressure). Work to keep the weight on your feet equal side to side and front to back, limiting how much you wobble.
Other Balance Tips:
• Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth.
• Try lifting up onto your toes while preparing dinner or standing in the grocery checkout line.
• Make practicing balance a daily habit. Do it every morning or every evening. Be consistent
• When you get good at balancing, challenge yourself.
Shawnee Haws, is a doctor of physical therapy and certified Pilates instructor at Pinnacle Performance in Salt Lake City. www.pinnacle4performance.com