Winter, as it is a time when there is (supposed to be!) ice and snow on the ground, is a key time to be thinking about training our balance. Balance, the ability to keep our body centered over its base of support (i.e. your feet), is key to not only fall prevention but being able to do many other activities to the best of our ability as well. So, how do we train balance and stability? Well, by letting ourselves be (safely) unstable. Try the following exercises to improve your balance! Please Note: for safety, start by trying these close to a counter or a wall in case you need something to hang on to!
Remember to think of a tall spine, shoulders relaxed down and belly button pulled in as you are moving through these exercises.
1) Stand on 2 feet, close your eyes
2) Stand on 1 foot, close your eyes
3) Eye tracking: stand feet shoulder width apart and arms up in front of you at shoulder height. Thumbs are up (like you are giving someone in front of you a “thumbs up”). Take your right arm and open it to the side. Follow your thumb with your eyes, while keeping the rest of your body as still as you can. Repeat left.
4) “Walk the Line”: some people call this the “sobriety test” as that is really what it looks like! Stand tall, arms out to sides and walk forward in a straight line, TOUCHING the heel of 1 foot to the toes of the other as you step forward. If you have mastered that, try it again with your eyes closed or with your arms crossed in front of you!
Remember, try these close to the wall until you feel confident enough to step away. Practice daily at home and soon you will see an improvement in your balance!