Balance is an important component of fitness, incorporating moves that work on our balance into our programmes can help to prevent falls, increase agility and enable us to enhance our movements of everyday life.
Simple daily tasks such as getting into and out of the car challenge our balance.
Below is a balanced based workout that you can do at home. Since having children a lot of mums complain that their balance has gone and a lot of times we out it down to reduced core strength in the early days. However it is important to note that hydration levels and proper sleeping patterns play a major role in balance too. Less than 8 hours of accumulated sleep within a 12-24 hour period it can negatively affect you. In addition if water levels are low to the point that your urine is not clear, your balance may not be up to scratch.
These moves can help you improve your approach to balance regardless of your fitness level, requiring nothing more than an open mind and a willingness to try. For an easier approach to balance, try these moves with shoes on first and then progress to a barefoot option if appropriate for you.
1) Stand with your feet hip-width-distance apart. Hop back and forth between both feet seven times, and on the seventh repetition try to freeze, holding one knee up and extending the opposite arm out to the side. Hold this position for seven seconds and repeat the sequence once again, freezing on the opposite leg after seven alternating hops. Repeat this drill for a total of two minutes.
2) Kneel on all fours, with the palms under the shoulders and fingers spread out wide. Position the knees directly under the hips. Reach the left arm forward and the right leg back, holding for seven seconds. Change the position seven times (reaching with the opposite arm and leg, alternating sides), holding on the seventh repetition. Repeat this drill for a total of one minute.
For the second minute of this drill repeat the same moves as above, but this time reach the same arm and leg forward and backward, respectively. This is much more challenging than working in oppositional patterns, so you may wish to start by bringing the knees together and having the thumbs touch each other under the chest.
3) This version of the bridge—an exercise that usually sculpts the glutes and hamstrings—adds an element of balance, which translates into improved standing balance due to the way it trains the legs and hip complex.
Lie on your back with the knees bent as much as feels comfortable, with the knees and ankles touching each other. Place your arms at your sides with palms down. Squeeze the knees together and extend the right knee to full extension. From here, raise the hips toward the sky and hold this position for seven seconds. Lower the hips slowly and change legs. Repeat this drill, alternating sides, for a total of two minutes.
4) A chopping-like movement in muscular strength/endurance training produces a multi-planar, full-body response. This version adds an element of balance to a hip flexor and oblique stretch.
Begin standing, with your feet positioned under the hips, and take a large step forward with the left foot. Bend the right knee toward the floor and lift the chest so the left hip area begins to stretch. Rotate the torso and touch the left ankle with the right hand; hold this position for seven seconds while breathing deeply to promote the stretch. Switch sides and repeat the movement, continuing to alternate sides for a total of 2 minutes.
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