Great Training Techniques to Improve Balance

By Jean D , last updated November 15, 2011

Following a few great training techniques can help you improve your balance. Having the ability to stay on your feet, no matter what happens, can help you avoid nasty falls and broken bones. In addition, as you improve your balance, you strengthen the muscles in your tummy and your legs, and this can improve your posture and reduce back pain. The benefits of good balance just keep adding up, and it's time for you to get started! Read on to find out more.

Perfect for Beginners

People with a poor sense of balance, or people who have never done balance exercises before, should start with these simple and safe exercises. You'll build your sense of balance perception without putting yourself at risk for injury. Several times throughout the day, extend your arms out to your side and place one foot directly in front of the other to walk forward. Your heel should touch the toes of the other foot. This heel-to-toe walk may sound simple, but it can be incredibly difficult if you have a poor sense of balance. As you get stronger, try simple standing exercises. Hold your arms to the side and place your feet side by side. Lift your left knee and hold for 10 seconds. Try your best not to wobble and keep your tummy, or core, muscles tight. Lower your left leg and lift the right knee. Keep a chair handy, so you can grab on if you lose your balance.

Intermediate Level

Using a stability ball can help you strengthen your core muscles and kick your balance exercises into high gear. These sturdy balls should be at hip level when they're fully inflated, and they should be quite firm. Sit on your stability ball and walk your feet forward until the ball is between your shoulder blades. Then, walk your feet back until the ball is beneath you once more. As an alternate exercise, sit on the ball and place your arms behind your head and keep your feet flat on the floor. Make small circles with your hips to the right, and slowly make the circles bigger and bigger, and then smaller and smaller. Repeat by making circles to the left.

Advanced Level

Athletes and people with advanced balance may benefit from exercises done on a wobble board or BOSU ball. These devices have an inflated bubble on one side, and a flat surface on the other side. You must have excellent balance to stand on the flat side of these boards while the air moves about in the bubble on the other side. Stand on the board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Try to keep the edges of the board from touching the floor and stand perfectly still. As you get stronger, do small knee bends or torso rotations, and don't let the edge of the board touch the floor. When you're ready to up the ante once more, throw a ball against the wall and catch it while you're balanced on your wobble board. This is an incredibly difficult exercise to complete, but it does provide an excellent workout!

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