I once had a yoga teacher that I adored. She often said, “everyday a different body” meaning that our own bodies were a little different everyday. I find this particularly true with balance. We do balancing exercises everyday in our workouts and some days I think, “I’ve got this!” and other days I think an alien must have invaded my body because I can’t seem to balance at all. Over all though, I am improving, and that is critical. Good balance is important for both brain and body:
Brain – A study of 1400 people in Japan showed an increase in brain problems such as stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s in people who could not stand on one leg for 20 seconds or more
Body – Having good balance does not only protect us from falls but is key to having an active life. Strength and balance work together to improve our ability in activities like swimming, running, biking, martial arts and just about anything else you can think of.
Balance declines if not used but if used and challenged it can be improved. There are a lot of ways you can improve your balance. Here are two:
- Standing on one leg. Once you can stand on each leg for 30 – 40 seconds add a movement like touching the floor or brushing your teeth.
- Lunges and squats. These simple everyday exercises both challenge balance and strengthen legs which also improves balance. It is very important to do them right to get the benefits and to prevent knee pain so you may want to find a fitness professional to teach you correct form.