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6 Ways to Sneak Balance Training into Your Day

Updated: Feb 22



How do I Know if my Balance is Getting Worse?


Like muscle strength, if you don’t use it, you lose it. When we don’t continue to challenge our balance systems, they can start to function sub-optimally over time. This can lead to feeling clumsy, tripping over your feet, and even lead to falls.

 

There are 3 main balance systems that keep us balanced:

 

Vestibular (inner ear)

Somatosensory (sense of touch)

Visual (eye sight)

 

Physical therapists have a myriad of tests they use to measure how strong your balance is and which balance systems require a tune-up. This helps us target which exercises will be most beneficial to your individualized needs.

 

Even without a formal PT evaluation, you may know your balance is not what it used to be, and there are several creative ways to sharpen these skills throughout your daily routine:

 

1.Standing on One Leg



Try standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. Right leg in the morning. Left leg in the evening (or vice versa). Use the countertop as needed for support. Touch your foot down to the ground to reset as much as needed, and gradually work up your endurance.


2. Walking in Different Directions

Practice walking backwards and sideways while on a walk outside. Make sure you are on a level, clear surface and that you have a buddy to let you know if any unknown obstacles are coming up!


3. Weight Shifts



While you are waiting for your meal to heat up, challenge yourself with some weight shifts at the counter. Try leaning all the way to the left then to the right. Put all of your weight onto your toes then your heals. Try standing on your toes only and see how long you can keep your heels off the ground without grabbing onto the counter or losing your balance. Try the same thing - this time balancing on your heels.


4. Single Leg Squats


When walking down the stairs, pause to do some single leg squats focusing on slow, controlled movements. Use the handrail for support as needed.


5. Multi-task

Practice dual-tasking. When walking in an open, safe space, try to walk straight while slowly moving your head left to right or up and down. You can get creative with this one - tossing a ball to a friend, or straight up in the air to yourself.


6. Incorporate Balance into your Strength Routine



If you have a strength routine, (and I recommend you do), find a way you can add balance challenges into exercises you are already doing. For example, standing on foam or in a split stance while performing bicep curls.

 

It is important to always practice safety when challenging your balance systems. Have a countertop, assistive device, and safety person standing nearby. If you have moderate to significant balance deficits, please seek out a vestibular physical therapist who is trained in balance and associated issues.

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