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HEALTHY

Balance: Understanding its Importance

Balance is a vital part of our everyday life. Balance problems are usually caused by weakness, except for illnesses that affect eyesight, cognition or inner ear. Balance training exercises can be helpful in this situation.

Why is balance important?

Balance is not something that comes naturally. Balance is something you have to work for. Many studies show that exercise consistently improves balance and reduces the risk for falls and ankle and knee injuries as you age. It is important to maintain an active lifestyle. This applies to anyone, from world-class athletes to those who simply want to keep doing the things they enjoy.

 

How can you improve your balance?

By strengthening your lower body, improving your concentration and building your core strength, you can improve your balance. You can start on the right track by doing the exercises below.

Strengthen Your Core

Maintaining core strength is crucial to our general health and wellbeing, particularly in terms of developing balance.

When you think about your core, you might only consider your abdominal muscles. Your core also includes the muscles between your shoulders, hips and “trunk”, or your entire body.

Strengthen your core with these exercises

  • Planks
  • Supermans
  • Cat, cow, and Cobra are all yoga poses.

Increase Lower Body Muscle Strength

The largest muscle groups in our body are the lower body muscles, including glutes and quadriceps. As we age it becomes harder to maintain muscle mass, which can lead to imbalance issues.

Exercises for Strengthening the Lower Body

  • Leg Extend
  • Leg Curling Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Glute Bridges
  • Donkey Kicks

Change your focus

Concentrating your attention, along with specific exercises, is another important component to gaining balance. By focusing your attention on something other than your body you can improve your balance. We tend to focus on our bodies too much.

Focus on these tips to improve your ability to focus.

  • Standing, focus on a point that is at least 10 feet away and does not move.
  • Soften your knees
  • Engage your core
  • As you lift your foot, adjust your attention by lifting your chin.

You can improve your balance by starting with standing and then progressing to standing on just one foot. You may be surprised to find that your balance is better on one foot.

When your focus starts to waver, bring it back to its original location. You can train your body by focusing on a different object than yourself. This will help you to do an activity instinctively and without the brain interfering.

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