Improve Your Balance Today
Being steady on your feet is important for numerous different activities we do through the day. Whether it is walking up stairs, bringing in groceries from the store, or even getting in and out of the shower, your balance is crucial to living a high quality life. And if you currently aren’t satisfied with how well your balance is, by the end of this article, that won’t be the case. Today, I am going to share with you 11 balance pad exercises that you can use to improve your coordination and strength on your feet, guaranteed. These exercises are so effective that by following all of them closely, in particular the last one, you probably won’t need to do any other balance exercises again. All of the exercises detailed below will be demonstrated in the video above.
Balance Pad Exercises for Seniors
Feet Together Holds
For our first balance pad exercise, we will start with feet together holds. If you don’t have a balance pad, I will link one below for you to check out, otherwise you can use a towel folded up on the ground. I enjoy starting out with feet together holds because it gives you a baseline of where you are at. For some individuals, you may notice that this exercise will already be challenging as is. Try your best to hold steady, without flailing your arms to the side. If that exercise is easy, you can try the next one.
Heel to Toe Holds
Heel to toe holds work your balance even more, by decreasing the overall base on the balance exercise. Not only will your balance be challenged, but this can also work your overall hip mobility as well. Since we are working each leg in a staggered position, you will want to make sure you switch your other foot so it is forward instead. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, you we can make start adding in some dynamic movement.
If you notice you struggle with your balance, particularly when walking, slow marches can help fix this. When working slow marches with the older adults I work with, I try to get them to bring there knee up to their hip level, before slowly bringing the foot back down. If they aren’t able to bring it this high, I challenge them to simply bring it up as high as possible. The key aspect of this exercise is to try to hold your knee for a second at the highest position, before bringing it back down. This exercise will give a great bit of framework for the next movement.
Single Leg Holds
Now, single leg holds will really start to push the boundaries on your balance. Try to bring your knee up to the highest position it was at when doing the slow marches. Instead of bringing it down immediately, see if you can actually control your leg for a second at the top, before bringing it down. Make sure you repeat the movement on both legs, trying to get equal time balancing on the separate legs. That exercise was probably challenging, so let’s look at one that is a little easier.
Feet Together Leans
Just like the first exercise we worked on, feet together shifts will also have your feet starting close together. This balance drill differs that instead on standing still on the pad, you will lean towards your right, left, forward, and backward with your torso, all the way around the pad. Not only with this really work your balance, but it also layers in some added core strength and stability as well. Speaking of core strength, the next exercise works this aspect, too.
Around The Worlds
If doing the last exercise was easy for yourself, around the worlds might give you the challenge you need. Your feet will start together, but instead of just pausing to your left, right, forward, and backward, you will slowly lean your torso all the way around your body in a fluid motion. This will practice your ability to adapt to the rapid change of center of gravity, will also working that core stability as well. And although those exercises are all great, they simply aren’t the most important ones.
How’s Your Balance?
Before we check out those last few exercise, I need to make sure you subscribe to our blog. If you want to continue to improve your balance, we make videos helping individuals of all abilities that struggle with this, in addition to navigating the gym, health, and fitness industry.
If you want to make your balance completely fall proof, I highly recommend implementing some forward taps. This exercise will have you starting in a feet together position, and slowly tapping in front of your balance pad, on the ground, with one foot. You will then alternate back and forth tapping the ground in front of you. This exercise is perfect for hammering your coordination, but also offers quite a bit of strength potential for your leg muscles as well. Leg strength is incredibly important for balance, which is exactly what these next few will focus on.
Balance Pad Squats
Doing squats is incredibly challenging on your balance already, which is why doing them on a balance pad makes it an even better opportunity to challenge your balance. If you can’t do a full squat, try to go as low as you comfortably can without any pain in your knees, hips, and rest of your body. If you want an even greater challenge, see if you can control the lower on a 5 second tempo, and pause for a second before coming up. Once you’ve tried that out, you can do the next one as well.
Single Leg Bent Knee Hold
If you recall the single leg holds exercise we did earlier, this one will mimic that. Instead of holding a straight leg, the single leg bent knee hold will have you holding a single leg position on the balance pad, while bending the stationary knee very slightly. What makes this more challenging than the previous exercise is that it targets your leg strength much more heavily. Go as low as you can, trying to keep that opposite knee up high. And to be completely honest, all of those exercises are great. But if you you really want to improve your balance and never fall again, you need to master these last few.
Bowler taps are incredibly challenging as it has you doing stepping your free leg behind the balance pad, and tapping the area on the ground. What makes it so difficult on your balance, is simply stepping backwards. Backwards walking in general is demanding on your balance, so adding in the balance pad and extra work on your leg muscles, makes this a perfect all inclusive exercise to boost your steadiness. But without implementing this last exercise, all of the ones we already went over might be useless.
Single Leg RDL
Last, but certainly not least is the single leg RDL. This is an exercise that many of the older adults I work with struggle with deeply. Those who master this exercise, especially on a balance pad, have never fallen in their entire life. Make sure to complete this exercise on both legs, trying to control the movement throughout.
You might not have known this, but there is actual a lot more aspects of balance, we didn’t have time to cover in this article. That’s why, I would highly recommend checking out this post as well. And if you don’t want to do that, feel free start our 21 days to better balance program, which will give you a perfect guide on all five aspects of balance and how to work them, keeping you off the ground and up in life.
Balance exercises are incredibly important for seniors, and individuals who struggle staying steady on their feet. When I work with older adults in improving their overall health and wellness, balance is a top priority. Because of this, I have spent lots of time running drills, exercises, and speaking about balance with older adults. Through this…
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