Exercises to Improve Balance
Most people perform exercise to improve strength, endurance, speed and power, but one element of fitness which is often overlooked is balance. Balance is a critical part of human movement from young children learning to walk, elite athletes performing difficult skills, to elderly people requiring balance to prevent falls.
Balance is affected by the complex interaction of the body’s sensorimotor control systems including proprioception (touch), vision (sight) and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation). Therefor, in order to improve balance it is necessary to train all 3 of these systems.
The following set of exercises progresses from beginner, intermediate to advance and focuses on improving balance by challenging each of these sensorimotor systems both in isolation and together.
• Stand on one foot 30 secs
• Stand two feet together on unstable surface 30 secs
• Stand two feet together eyes closed 30 secs
• Stand on one foot throwing and catching a ball against a wall
• Stand on one foot on unstable surface 30 secs
• Stand on one foot eyes closed 30 secs
• Stand one foot, eyes closed on unstable surface 30 secs
• Double leg squat on unstable surface
• Single leg squat
Written by Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health