To improve your balance, you must practice a challenging balance activity. For your balance to continue to improve, you must keep upgrading to a more challenging balance activity level.
You must look to gain the why (opportunity) and not just the how (activities) in order to have the knowledge to take control of your balance and strength.
Let’s take a look at three key areas to help you gain strength and balance, improve your ability to function, and ultimately help prevent falls.
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:
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.
|Opportunity||Bend Your Knees|
|Daily practice||Unloading the dishwasher or reaching for low items|
|Opportunity||On Your Heels|
|Activity||Heels-stand or walk|
|Daily practice||While brushing your teeth or walking down the hall|
|Opportunity||Sit to Stand|
|Activity||Normal and low chair|
|Daily practice||Getting out of chairs|
|Opportunity||Up the Stairs|
|Daily practice||When using stairs for daily tasks|
|Opportunity||On Your Toes|
Toes-stand and walk
|Daily practice||Reaching for higher items or walking down the hall|
|Activity||Move ankles, bend/straighten knees, tighten and relax buttocks|
|Daily practice||While watching TV, sitting, or playing cards|