To improve your overall balance, you need to constantly challenge yourself. When you’re performing balance activities, think about ways to reduce the support you receive from your hands. This can be done gradually in the following ways:
- Hold with two hands
- Hold with one hand
- Hold with fingertips, two fingers tips, one fingertip
- Intermittent support—using support on and off or for just part of the time
- No hand supports
Combining balance principles will challenge yourself. For example, when you combine the principles of reducing your base of support and shifting your weight, you’re challenging your balance limits. When you can shift your weight from foot to foot easily with your feet farther apart, you can challenge yourself by moving your feet closer together.
As you gain confidence, you can further challenge yourself and your balance ability by making a few small adjustments. As with all adjustments, it’s important to make them only when you understand your balance limits and do so in a safe manner. Closing your eyes makes it harder to balance. By practicing balancing with your eyes closed, you’re not just challenging yourself—you’re also preparing for situations where you find yourself in a darkened room or a poorly lit area.
Doing something else while trying to balance is another way to challenge your balance ability. Making the brain do more than one thing—such as talking to someone, carrying something, or performing a daily task—while performing balance activities is one way to challenge yourself while improving overall balance.