This article is written by Brittany Waddell.
Navigating through life is all about balance—balance in your work, your play, your sleep, and even your health and fitness. As you move your way through this physical world, it is necessary to strike a balance within your physical body because imbalances can lead to illness, premature aging, and chronic disease.
Improving your physical balance and well-being is not difficult; with a few well executed exercises on a consistent basis, you will find improved health and improved balance. Follow these recommendations for greater health and wellness, and better balance in life:
1. One Legged Balance
This beginner move is perfect to start with if you haven’t tried these balance practice before. Stand on one leg, bend your other knee and bring it to a 90 degree angle as you balance on the standing leg, eyes open first, then closed. Repeat several times for several seconds on each side.
2. Leg Swings
Stand on your right leg, raising your left foot off the floor about six inches, keeping your spine and torso erect. Swing the left leg forward, then backward, touching the floor in between for support if needed. Increase the range of your swing for an extra challenge. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Tree pose
This strong stability pose has its roots in yogic traditions. Stand on one leg, bringing your other bent leg up so that the bottom of your foot rests on the inside thigh of your standing leg. Do your best to balance on your standing leg as you raise your hands upward toward the sky, opening up and out like a Y. Stand for one minute, then switch sides. For an added challenge, stand with eyes closed while in tree position.
You cannot achieve body balance without a strong and healthy set of core muscles—those muscles in your abdomen that help house all your internal organs and protect your spine. To perform a boat, start by sitting on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Slowly lift your legs and balance on your buttocks, lifting your arms up and back behind you so that your body forms a V shape. Balance on your buttocks while focusing on keeping your legs and arms extending outward. Hold for as long as you can, rest, and then repeat.
Believe it or not, improving your lower body strength will help to improve your balance as well. Squats are a perfect strength builder for hamstrings, quads, and buttocks. Stand with feet hip width apart, spine straight. Lower your legs to a squatting position—preferably 90 degrees with thighs parallel to the floor, then raise to a standing position once more. Repeat several times for added strength, and add hand weights and resistance bands for an additional challenge.
Lunges are another great exercise for developing lower body and core strength; use a stability ball or platform for an additional challenge to this exercise. Stand with feet hip width apart. Bending the right knee, slowly stretch the left leg behind you, then bring yourself back up to a standing position. Alternate legs several times to improve overall balance and strength; feel free to add hand weights for added benefits.
Balance on one leg and extend your arms overhead. Begin with arms in the 12 o’clock position, then swing them over to 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, all while balancing on one leg. Repeat by standing on the other leg and moving arms both in clockwise and counterclockwise positions. As you get stronger and more centered, you can try adding some speed and resistance to your movements, making you even more efficient in balance and strength.
Following these simple exercises and performing them on a consistent bases is one way to ensure that you remain strong and agile well into your golden years. When used in combination with a healthy diet and a little bit of cardio and strength training, you are setting yourself up for years of good health and wellness.
Author bio: Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for RightFit Personal Training. She often produces content for a variety of fitness blogs.
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