Some of us are just clumsy by nature. It is what it is! No matter how accident prone you are, though, you’ll find yourself experiencing fewer falls if you focus on exploring new ways to improve your balance.
Balance becomes a bigger issue as we get older. According to Berkeley Wellness, people are more prone to falls over time due to a loss of muscle strength, vision, and joint flexibility. Our reaction time also becomes shorter as we age.
Aging is no fun. But we can fight at least some part of it by working to improve our balance no matter how old we are!
Here are seven great ways to improve balance.
1. Stand on one leg.
Time to get back to basics, people! This might seem a little too simple, but think about it: when was the last time you actually practiced this elementary-school-gym-class move?
It’s probably been a while.
Standing on one leg might seem painfully simple, but it’s one of the most straightforward routes to improving balance. You can do it while you multitask! Balance on one leg while you fold laundry, wash dishes, or work at your desk.
2. Practice squats.
Drop that booty low, because it’s going to improve your balance!
Start with a simple squat, placing your feet hip-width apart, bending your knees and hips slowly as if you’re sitting in a chair behind you. (Chair pose, anyone?) When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push back up through your glutes to standing position.
3. Take a ballet class.
It’s no secret that we dig dancing around here. Catch us movin’ and groovin’ to our favorite playlists after class in the studio or at a bulldog-style yoga party! Beyond just being fun, dancing carries some great health benefits. For one, it can help with balance!
Ballet, in particular, is one of the best-known ways to improve balance. In fact, professors at Northeastern University recently took a deep dive into the routines and habits of a group of ballet dancers in order to learn more about how all of us can better sustain balance as we age!
If ballet isn’t your thing (though we’d highly encourage you to mix it up!), you might consider signing up for another dance class, which will allow you to cash in on some of the benefits of that ballerina lifestyle.
4. Focus on your core.
Per the very smart people at Harvard Medical School, core-strengthening exercises are proven to be effective ways to improve balance. Focusing on muscles in your abs, back, and hips will help protect you from dangerous falls.
Try some core-focused bodyweight exercises — like planks, mountain climbers, bicycles, and boat pose — to give your balance a valuable boost. These moves are all a great addition to a full body workout routine, too, so it’s really a win-win.
5. Build strength in your legs.
The stronger your legs are, the easier it will be for them to support the upper part of your body, which means you’ll be less worried about losing your balance. Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Walking, jogging, and running are some of the best ways to improve your balance, since they build that strength in your lower body. With consistent strength throughout your leg muscles, you’ll be less likely to feel like you’re in danger of tipping over.
6. Get some sleep!
There are very few (if any) good things that can come from being tired. If you’re looking for further proof, a study from the California Pacific Medical Center confirmed the connection between a lack of sleep and falls. We want to keep you upright!
With that in mind, allow us to suggest sleep as one option for improving balance. What a great excuse to try for more snoozing!
(Hot tip for insomniacs and the sleep-deprived: yoga can help you sleep better! Catch some more zzzz’s and improve your balance in the process.)
7. Grab a yoga mat.
Does the subtitle of this blog post say “other than yoga?” Oops. Our bad.
But not really, because practicing yoga really is one of the best ways to improve your balance. And there’s data to back it up! According to a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Yoga, college athletes who practiced yoga regularly had better balance than those who didn’t. Another 2016 study published in Age and Ageing notes similar benefits for people over the age of sixty. See? Yoga can help improve your balance no matter how old you are!
Get your mat and join us in our Boulder studio or Villanova studio — or give a class a try in the comfort of your own home with bulldog online!
Ready to reap the benefits of yoga to improve your balance? Learn more about how often you should do yoga here!
Do you practice any of these balance-improving activities? Tell us on Instagram (Boulder | Villanova) or over on our Boulder and Villanova Facebook pages!
***You can get the bulldog experience anywhere, anytime with our online classes or via our app (App store | Google Play)! Don’t forget to subscribe to the bulldog blog so you can get e-mail notifications about every new post.***
Featured image: Marion Michele/Unsplash; Sunset image: Aziz Acharki/Unsplash