All About Balance Exercise and the Different Ways to Practice it

Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram

May 27, 2021

Balance exercises keep our bodies strong and stable. We should practice it along with other forms of exercise to gain maximum benefit. Balance is required for everything we do, including activities such as bending, walking, running, or even getting up from a chair. Hence training for balance will help improve your daily life and also prevent falls and injuries that could happen due to lack of balance.  

Any type of activity that keeps you moving can actually help you maintain your balance. Still, it is necessary to perform specific balance exercises that improve your balance.

List of contents:

Who Can Benefit from Balance Exercises?

Though balance exercises help everyone, a few people can benefit more than others. Balance exercises are especially important for older people who have weak muscles. When older individuals perform these exercises regularly, they can strengthen their muscles and avoid falls and injuries. Also, with older people, injuries take time to heal, and recovery is much slower. Hence, strengthening the core, lower back, and leg muscles can help maintain the right balance. 

Balance exercises can also be helpful to athletes, who suffer from frequent ankle injuries and ligament issues. Some types of these exercises may also help individuals who suffer from vertigo by minimizing the symptoms. However, you should start the balance exercises slowly and then move on to more repetitions or probably holding on in a specific position for a longer time.

Benefits of Balance Exercises

1. Improves body awareness

Balance exercises give you a feeling that your limbs are positioned solidly in place; this is called proprioception. It improves your body awareness, which may reduce the likelihood of falls and injuries.

2. Helps with coordination

With this exercise, your entire body works together. Hence, practicing these exercises regularly can help keep you coordinated in your everyday life.

3. Increases joint stability  

Another benefit of balance exercise is improving joint stability. It keeps your hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles stable. When these parts of the body are stable, it can prevent many injuries, including knee problems and ankle issues.

4. Improves reaction time 

When you practice balance exercises, you can improve your reaction time to a great level. While practicing these exercises, if you suddenly stumble or slip, your body will automatically try to re-balance to avoid falling. Thus, this will improve the reaction time in your daily life as well.

5. Overall health benefits 

Making balance exercises a part of your exercise routine will help in overall and long-term health. As we get older, our health and balance can sometimes deteriorate, and hence practicing these exercises can keep us strong and healthy throughout.

Types of Balance Exercises

To practice the different types of balance exercises, you don’t need to do high-intensity or high-impact workouts at all. Most balance exercises are simple movements that can be done standing. Some areas that are targeted when you practice balance exercises are arms, legs, core, back, and glutes.

If you’re looking out to include balance exercises in your daily exercise routine, here are six types of balance exercises you can start with:

#1 Banded Triplanar Toe Tap Exercise

Banded Triplanar Toe Tap Exercise
  • Begin by putting a resistance band right above your knees on your lower thighs
  • Now, with your right leg, get into a quarter squat on a single leg
  • Make sure to engage your hip and core muscles
  • Slowly using the resistance band, start tapping your leg forward, to the side, and then backward
  • Perform this for about 10 to 20 repetitions
  •  Repeat the same on the opposite side as well

#2 Rock the Boat Balance Exercise

Rock the Boat Balance Exercise
  • Begin by standing with your feet apart—hip-width apart
  • Now, press down your weight into your feet
  • Slowly, get your weight onto the left foot and try to lift your right foot off the floor
  • Hold in this position for about 30 seconds
  • Once completed, lower down your left foot to the floor and repeat the same on the other side
  • Perform balance exercises like this at least five to ten times

#3 The Flamingo Stand Balance Exercise

The Flamingo Stand Balance Exercise
  • Bring both your legs together and begin by standing on your left leg and slowly lift your right leg
  • You can use a wall or chair in case you need some support when you stretch your leg forward
  • Make sure to maintain a good posture. Keep your head, spine, and neck together in one line. Do not stress any part of your body too much
  • If you would like to increase the difficulty level of this exercise, then try to extend your hand out to reach your right foot
  • Hold in this position for about 15 seconds
  • Repeat the same on the opposite side

#4 Chair Leg Raises

Chair Leg Raises
  • Sit upright in a chair, keeping your spine straight and placing your feet under your knees
  • Now, straighten out your left leg, and hold it right there for a few seconds
  • Slowly lower your leg back down on the floor and repeat the same with the other leg
  • You can do 1 to 3 sets of about 10 to 20 repetitions. If you would like to increase the difficulty level of this exercise, you can perform it with ankle weights

#5 The Bean Bag Balance Exercise

  • Begin this exercise by placing a bean bag or any similar type of item on your shoulder or head
  • Now, try to walk in a straight line, maintaining good posture and balance to keep it secure
  • Then, try walking in a circle or in a zig-zag way—moving side to side and backward as well

Other simple balance exercises that you can practice:

Chair sit stand exercise
  • Place a chair behind you and sit down far enough that your rear end hovers above the chair. Hold for three to five seconds before you sit down. Stand up and repeat. Try to perform this exercise without the use of your hands
  • Walk forward and lift your knees alternatively with each step you take
  • You can also practice yoga or Tai Chi to increase your balance and strength

These are the different balance exercises you can practice right away. It’s also important to note that balance varies daily, and some days you may feel more stable than other days. At first, these exercises can be quite challenging for many, but you can master these exercises easily with regular practice.

When practicing balance exercises, try to enjoy the workout and find new creative ways to make it fun and interesting so that it doesn’t get boring.

If you are someone who suffers from medical conditions or recovering from an injury. It’s important to check with your doctor before you begin any type of exercise routine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How often should I do balance exercises?

A. You can practice balance exercises daily or as often as you like. Older individuals who are at a higher risk of falls should try to do these exercises at least three or more days a week. They should do a set of these exercises that are specially designed to reduce falls. Tai chi is a form of a balance exercise that may help to prevent falls. You can also combine strength, flexibility, and balance exercises for better results.

Q. Can I do balance exercises if I’m recovering from a stroke or cardiac event?

A. Many people are afraid to do any type of physical activity after a stroke or a heart attack. But it’s important to note that regular physical movement is vital to reduce the chances of suffering another heart attack or stroke. However, every condition is different, and hence it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting with any exercise routine.

Q. Are balance exercises strenuous or difficult to do?

A. No. Unlike the strength and cardiovascular exercises that are difficult and taxing on the body, balance exercises are simple to do. Balance exercises are designed to train the brain to work together and coordinate with your muscles. Balance exercises help to keep your brain alert. Hence, you can practice these exercises within the comfort of your home without feeling tired.

About the Author

Saravanan “Sharu” Hariram is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for bodybuilding. Combining his love for fitness with his career, Sharu did his certification in Sports Nutrition, and Rehabilitation and Healing Nutrition. Currently a Master Trainer with HealthifyMe, he specializes in Weight Management, Marathon Training, and Physical Rehabilitation. In his 20+ years of experience, Sharu has always maintained that one’s mind must have control over their body in order to lead a healthy life. At HealthifyMe, he continues to follow his passion while helping those around him realise their fitness goals.

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